The days of summer are becoming shorter and the first day of school is just around the corner. Beyond the brand new school supplies, there are other ways parents can prepare their children for the new school year. Be sure to check these four items off your back-to-school health list!

Get up-to-date vaccinations

Back-to-school time is a great time to ensure all of your child’s vaccinations are up-to-date. To ensure your child is up-to-date on their vaccinations, make an appointment with your child’s primary care physician. Not having the proper vaccines could cause your child to get sick and miss valuable school time. It’s also a good idea to schedule a flu shot at this time too.

Go to the doctor for an annual check-up

Getting an annual check-up is a great way for you and your primary care physician to discuss the health and development of your child. It’s important to return to the same provider every year because he or she will likely pick up on small changes in your child’s health that may go unnoticed to a new provider.

Schedule a sports physical exam

Annual check-ups are a great way to determine your child’s overall health. But if your child is into sports, physicals are a great way to reveal any unknown risk factors or detect injuries and diseases. Make sure to let your doctor know about any family history of heart disease, fainting or shortness of breath after exercise. Your child may require further evaluation by a pediatric cardiologist.

Regulate sleep schedule

Finally, it’s very important to make sure your child is well-rested. Warm, summer nights and relaxed schedules disrupt a child’s routine of waking up early for school. Gradually help the child adjust to an earlier sleep and wake schedule so that they’ll be ready for the new school year.


Lee Beers Lee Beers, MD, is a general pediatrician at Children’s National and the Medical Director for Municipal and Regional Affairs at the Child Health Advocacy Institute.

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