Parents, if you’re reading this, heave a sigh of relief and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. You’ve survived another summer break! Before long, it will be time to scoot your little scholars out the front door and onto the bus. But first, it’s time to take care of those back to school physicals!
Schools require physicals at certain grade levels in accordance with their state’s education law. Most states also require annual sports physicals if your child plans on participating in school-sponsored sports. These routine visits may feel like another inconvenient addition to your back to school to-do list, but they play an important role in your child’s growth and development. Here are a few tips to help get you through this process as smoothly as possible:
Many parents wait until the last minute before scheduling school physicals, which means July and August appointments fill up quickly. Call as soon as possible to make sure you get a space.
See your child’s primary physician
Walk-in clinics provide physicals, but an annual visit with your child’s pediatrician or family doctor is best. This doctor will have knowledge of your child’s medical history and immunization records, and is much more likely to notice any changes in your child’s growth and development. There is also that established relationship with your child’s doctor, which makes the whole visit much more comfortable for everyone.
With younger children, blood samples, urine samples and vaccinations can lead to tears and frustration. If you’re not sure what this year’s visit will involve, call the office ahead of time and ask. Some children respond better if they know what to expect (especially if there’s a treat involved). At the very least, you will be able to mentally prepare yourself.
Write down questions or concerns
As a parent, you know your child better than anyone else. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s health or development, write them down and bring them to your visit. This guarantees you won’t forget anything, and also helps the doctor recognize any areas that may require additional attention.
Annual physicals may not always be a walk in the park, but they are a crucial part of your child’s health and well-being. So take a deep breath, moms and dads. It will be over before you know it, and if you’re really brave, you’ll get a sucker at the end!