5 to-dos before your child returns to school

Posted at 11:47 AM, Jul 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-27 11:48:41-04

You've seen the back-to-school checklists before, the ones that make you feel as if you're being asked to buy an entire office supply store. While it's safe to say your child will end up needing some No. 2 pencils, there are other things that should make it onto the list.

For instance, regardless of how many awesome binder folders you buy, your child might not excel at school if she's feeling under the weather. That's why it's a great idea to get checkups, immunizations and other such items out of the way while you still have a loose summer schedule.

To help you determine what's important, here's a prioritized list of things to do before the kiddies return to school:



1. Immunizations 

Everyone feels they're probably up-to-date on these, but "probably" usually doesn't cut it for schools and lawmakers. Make sure your child has the required vaccines for your state. If you're not sure where your children are on vaccines, try looking at their immunization records. If you lost yours, you can most likely order one via mail or online from your hospital or clinic.

2. Well child checkups

Healthy kids do better in school, but wouldn't you rather make sure everything's OK before starting school? Take your children for a well child visit once a year until they turn 21. This will prevent illness, provide treatment if necessary, and assess general growth and development. If you have any concerns about the health of your child, now is a good time to set up an appointment with your pediatrician.

3. Organization

In general, summer tends to create more entropy than neatness. Take some time to get your house in order, leaving a space by the door for everyone in the family to gather things before leaving. An end table, coat rack and shelf are good spots for backpacks, jackets and whatever else you might need.

The end of summer is a great time to discuss goals for the year and to begin working on a family calendar that you can hang in sight and reference often. It's also not a bad idea to create a homework station to encourage academic excellence. If you're having trouble getting started, here is an organizational website.

4. Eye exams

You might not think young children have much need for eye exams but, according to the American Optometric Association, up to 80 percent of learning in school-aged children comes from the eyes.

While some states have mandatory vision testing, watch for warning signs of loss of vision, such as complaints of headaches or fatigue. Have your child's vision checked, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the AOA.

5. Sports physicals

Children often take part in one or more extracurricular activities, which include sports. Whether your child plays soccer, basketball, volleyball or baseball, it helps to have the physical exam out of the way.

Sports physicals are also a great way to ensure your child is healthy and ready for the new school year. These physicals aren't typically long or arduous and are easily scheduled.

As you check each of the above items off your list, you and your child will be one step closer to a happy and healthy school year.