Right now, you’re probably in the midst of back-to-school shopping, filling out permission forms and preparing your kids for heading back to school. Another important item on your list should be a back-to-school physical check-up, or a well-child visit.

While some schools require a back-to-school doctor’s visit, others just need a record of your child’s up-to-date immunizations. Either way, it’s important to ask your child’s pediatrician about a well-child visit, where they can thoroughly assess your child’s physical and psycho-social development.

At a normal check-up, your child’s doctor will look at:

  • Spinal test: This will help detect if your child is at risk for developing scoliosis.
  • Eyes, ears, nose, skin and mouth assessment
  • Motor development
  • Height and weight
  • Blood pressure and heart rate
  • Reflexes

In a well-child visit, your pediatrician will also focus on developmental milestones, nutrition, safety and your family’s emotional well-being. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests using their age-appropriate questionnaires during your child’s next appointment.

There are many benefits to a well-child visit, including:

  • Prevention: At this appointment, your child’s pediatrician can assess your child’s nutrition and safety at home and school. They can also keep track of your child’s scheduled immunizations to prevent illness.
  • Tracking growth: Their pediatrician will also talk about their emotional development, not just physical growth. This will help you better understand your child’s social behavior and learning.
  • Raising concerns: This is your opportunity to bring any and all questions you may have, including about your child’s eating and sleeping patterns, or how they’re getting along with friends and family members.
  • Using a team approach: Regular visits allow your child’s doctor to get to know your child better. This can lead to optimal physical, mental and social health and help them better detect any emerging problems.

Remember to schedule your child’s well-visit appointment as soon as possible, as the back-to-school season is one of the busiest times for doctors!