Wellness checkups ensure a healthy start to the school year

August 16, 2021 Providence News Team

After more than a year postponing ‘non-essential’ health concerns, it’s time to get back on track.

Providence Medical Group pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Wild says school-aged children should see a physician at least once a year, whether they need to get vaccine boosters or not. “We’re here all year, but birthdays and back-to-school are good reminders to make an appointment for your child’s wellness check-up,” says Dr. Wild.

If you ever have concerns — either with physical or behavioral challenges — your pediatrician can help. And if you notice changes in your child due to stress, isolation and remote schooling, a well-child visit is a great opportunity to get advice on how to help your child.

What happens in a well-child visit?

If it’s been a while since your child’s last visit, here’s what you can expect:

  • Physical assessments: Measure height and weight and assess whether growth is on track. Check blood pressure.

  • Screenings: You may not notice issues with your six-year-old’s vision or hearing, but your pediatrician can screen to ensure even ‘hidden’ issues are addressed. “Catching issues early can prevent long-term damage, and it can also change the way your child sees the world — literally!” Dr. Wild says.

  • Behavioral assessments: Your pediatrician will ask you and your child how school’s going — are there new academic struggles, do you have concerns about attention or behavior? Mental health, diet and sleep are also part of this conversation.

  • Vaccines and other scheduled assessments: Most vaccines are administered in three life stages: infancy, when children enter kindergarten and again when entering middle school. Your annual check-up is also an opportunity to learn more about the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccines for children. “It’s an opportunity to talk about these vaccines with someone you trust,” Dr. Wild says. Your doctor will also ask about dental check-ups and other specialist screening.

  • Ready-to-play physicals: Older kids may need a physical or doctor’s paperwork to play sports this fall. These are meant to identify and deal with any health issues that may cause problems with participation in a particular sport.

“We think in terms of whole child health. My goal with these visits is to follow the parent and child’s lead about what matters to them, to make sure growth and development are on track, to help kids thrive and help families feel empowered.”

Annual well-child visits should take place in-person, but other appointments can take place virtually for your convenience. Find Providence Mill Creek Pediatrics at 12800 Bothell Everett Highway, Suite 190, open Monday to Friday with evening, same-day and weekend appointments available. To make an appointment call 425-316-5160 or book online at providence.org/locations/wa/pediatrics-mill-creek.


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