Are physicals still missing from your back-to-school checklist?
Stylish new gym shoes, notebooks with the most popular theme and the oh-so-important back-to-school outfit top the to-do list for most kids heading back to school. But as the time draws near, some health-related items need to be checked off parents’ lists, too. Here are some reminders from the experts in SIU Medicine's Department of Pediatrics.
- Physical: Students entering kindergarten, 6th or 9th grade or who are starting at a new school must have a physical.
- Immunizations: Kindergarteners must have the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (or Tdap) their final polio, their final measles or rubella vaccine and their final varicella or chicken pox vaccine, according to SIU pediatrician Dr. Craig Batterman. 6th grade children must also have proof of a meningitis vaccination and the Tdap booster to attend school. 12th graders must also receive the meningitis vaccination before beginning the school year.
- Dental exam: Kindergarteners must have a dental exam before starting school. This is also a good time of year for older children to have their six-month checkup.
- Eye exam: Kindergartners have one more visit to check off the list. Regular eye exams are also important for older children, especially if you notice a change in your child’s vision as she reads or watches TV.
- Lunch list: If your child doesn’t participate in the school’s hot lunch program, make a list of healthy lunch ideas to save you future packing time. Keep a copy of the list in your car for last minute grocery trips. Purchase small bags to make lunch-sized portions ahead of time. (Watch for a future blog on healthy school lunch ideas.)
- Routine reminders: Use the next few weeks to remind your child of the imminent changes in routine and responsibilities. If your child has been staying up late or sleeping in, begin to re-adjust his sleep cycles to the school day alarm clock. Try some practice rounds the week before school begins to help you and your child adapt to new schedule responsibilities with less stress.