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Back-to-School Checklist

Your Health Matters

Time does something funny to you once you become a parent. You blink and your baby is not a baby, and before long they are off to school, and then graduation and college… and OK, woah.

Pause. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves too much, let’s get them through the beginning of this upcoming school year first.

Going back to school, or starting school for the first year, can be hard for parents. There are so many things to know. Public or private school? Do they need a certain kind of pen? What should they eat?

It’s just a lot, but at Meritus Health, we’re here to help you with your back-to-school checklist.

“A yearly physical is an important check-in point for families - to screen for any health issues, monitor growth and development, and respond to any concerns. Back-to-school is a great time to check in with your child’s pediatrician or family doctor,” said Dr. Aaron George, Chief Medical Officer at Meritus Health.

During the pandemic, routine checkups for eye and hearing exams may have been missed.

“Seeing and hearing well are so critical to success in school. From reading and writing, to interacting with new friends - vision and hearing problems could limit your child from doing their best at school. It is important to have their vision checked early even if you’re unsure of an existing issue,” George said.

A dental checkup is another good one to put on your list for the new school year. Starting healthy habits at a young age can set your child up for a lifetime of taking care of their teeth. Twice-yearly checkups at the dentist are the first line of defense for catching any would-be issues before they can progress.

It never hurts to kick a couple of those sugary drinks off your back-to-school lunchbox shopping list while you’re at it.

This next one might not be the highlight of every doctor’s visit, but staying up-to-date on childhood vaccinations is the best way to protect your child from getting a vaccine-preventable disease.

“Vaccines not only protect your child, but their classmates, friends, family and others in the community. They are safe, incredibly effective, and so important for healthy growth and development,” George said.

It’s normal for children to be nervous about getting vaccines. It’s also important for parents to be knowledgeable and take the time to explain to their child the importance of getting vaccinated. Although it’s something that could hurt for a moment, it offers them long-term protection from getting sick.

PS: It never hurts to offer a little treat or reward afterward too.

A comprehensive exam can address not just physical health, but mental health too.

“Be sure to give your child space to share their feelings. Remember that changes take time to adjust to, and that it’s been more than two years now that school has fluctuated between virtual, in-person and a mix of the two,” George said, adding that a little bit of back-to-school anxiety can be normal.

Encourage your child to take breaks and have some downtime too. With the start of the new school year, routines change and oftentimes that means that our days become more hectic. It’s important to take a break and slow down too.

For more details on annual wellness exams, visit MeritusHealth.com.

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