It’s hard to believe that the start of a new school year is around the corner. Given all that has transpired in 2020, it is now more imperative than ever to ensure your child is up to date on their vaccines and well-visits before returning to school. By visiting a doctor ahead of time, you can rest assured your child is as healthy as possible and won’t be spreading any germs to their classmates.
Here are six doctors you should visit before in-person classes resume.
This one is a no-brainer. Your child’s pediatrician is their go-to for all things healthcare, from the treatment of common childhood illnesses to sports physicals to immunizations. You should schedule an appointment if your child hasn’t been to the doctor in a while. Not only will they ensure that your child is up to date on all their vaccines, but they can also address any underlying health conditions that might impact their ability to participate in in-person learning safely.
For example, if your child has asthma, their doctor can work with you to develop a plan to manage their condition while at school. This might include providing your child’s teacher with an inhaler to keep in the classroom or holding off on physical activity until after lunch when your child’s asthma is typically less flared up.
The Eye Doctor
Children with undiagnosed vision impairment can sometimes find it difficult to keep up with their lessons. If your child is struggling in school, an eye exam might be able to identify a previously undiagnosed vision problem as the cause. Most schools require students to have a vision screening before entering kindergarten, but after that, eye exams are generally not on the radar until college. However, vision can change rapidly during childhood, so it’s a good idea to have your child’s eyes checked every one to two years. Many pediatricians offer vision screenings as part of well-visits, but if you have any concerns about your child’s vision, it’s best to see an eye doctor for a comprehensive exam.
Like vision screenings, dental screenings are generally not required after kindergarten, but that doesn’t mean they’re not necessary. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost half of children aged 5 to 11 have at least one cavity or decayed tooth. Professional cleaning and exam by a dentist can help identify any early signs of tooth decay and provide guidance on how to best care for your child’s teeth at home. By visiting a trusted dental clinic, you can ensure that your child’s teeth are in tip-top shape before they head back to school.
The Mental Health Provider
One in five children aged 3 to 17 has a diagnosed mental health condition, so it’s important to ensure your child gets the support they need before heading back to school. If your child is currently experiencing any type of mental health issue, such as anxiety or depression, it’s time to contact a professional for help. A therapist can provide guidance on how to best manage symptoms and support your child through this transition back to in-person learning. During the pandemic, many mental health providers have shifted to offering virtual appointments, so it’s easy to get started without having to leave the comfort of your own home.
Hearing loss is surprisingly common in children, with approximately two or three out of every 1,000 newborns experiencing some degree of hearing loss at birth. If you suspect that your child might be struggling with hearing loss, it’s important to have them seen by an audiologist. This way, they can receive the accommodations they need to succeed in school. Here are some signs of hearing loss:
- Your child doesn’t respond when you call their name from another room
- Your child turns up the volume on the TV or radio to an uncomfortably loud level
- Your child has difficulty following along in conversations
- Your child says “huh” or “what” often
- Your child is behind in speech development
As much as we might hope otherwise, the food our kids eat definitely impacts their performance in school—and not just in terms of energy levels! According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, poor nutrition has been linked with lower grades and increased absences from school. If you’re concerned about your child’s diet or eating habits, meeting with a nutritionist can help you develop a plan to improve their overall health and well-being—which will definitely come in handy when they’re trying to focus during class!
As the new school year approaches, it’s important to make sure that your child is up to date on all their vaccines and well-visits. By visiting the aforementioned doctors, you can be sure your child is protected against common illnesses and injuries and that any underlying health conditions are identified. In addition, these professionals can provide guidance on how to best support your child through their return to in-person learning.