Starting first grade is a big deal for both mother and child—it means longer days, big-kid classes, and no more kindergarten. While you might have shopped for the best back-to-school outfits, and equipped your child with a sturdy backpack or extra pencils, there’s more to consider when preparing for first grade. You will want to get your little one off to a good start by completing all the vaccinations and tests that will ensure they have a healthy and happy transition into the first grade.
The government requires children to have certain vaccinations before they start school. The following shots are recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
– Hepatitis B
– Haemophilus influenza type B
– Hepatitis A
Check with your state department of health or your school district office about which vaccinations your state requires, and then meet with your doctor to see which ones they recommend. Most states recommend children, and the whole family, get whatever seasonal flu shot is developed for this year’s strain. No matter how much you teach your child about the danger of germs, you’ll find that sniffles and sickness will find their way back home if the proper vaccinations are skipped.
It’s important to check your child’s eyes before or when school starts because good vision is crucial for learning and participating in school. When your child is still learning to read, it can sometimes be tough to tell how good their vision is. However, this will become more apparent as they read more often and have to see the board from across the classroom. There are easy vision tests for children who cannot read; they often use shapes rather than letters. According to an eye doctor in Calgary of Dr. Bishop and Associates, children’s eyes can change rapidly, with vision appearing to be fine one month and problems showing up a few months later. Because of this rapid change and development, be sure to bring your child back to be tested even within the school year if you suspect glasses may be needed.
In addition to any necessary vaccinations, make sure to take your child for an annual wellness visit. Talk to the doctor about starting school and ask whether there are any issues of which to be aware. The doctor will not only make sure vaccinations are appropriate, but will perform a routine physical exam and discuss any developmental or special needs such as controlling asthma or allergies. This is the time to discuss any concerns you may have, and could help you avoid sending your child to their first year of school with any issues you aren’t aware of.
Some schools will perform a hearing test within the first few weeks of school, but if your school doesn’t hold this practice, ask your child’s doctor to have a routine hearing test performed before school starts. Most offices will do this along with your child’s checkups or vaccinations before school starts. Your child will listen through headphones and be asked to signal when sounds are heard. The test will check for a range of decibels to make sure your child is ready to listen and learn in class. If there are any hearing issues, you can discuss them with your child’s teacher in order to avoid any problems or miscommunications later in the school year.
While there is a lot to consider when you have a first grader, of course your child’s safety and health is your top priority. Since your child will be around a large group of other children day after day, and will be learning reading, listening, and interactive skills, it is best to be aware of any issues before your child falls behind in school. These basic medical tests and vaccinations will set a baseline for your child’s overall wellness. Future doctor visits will carry this baseline forward to keep your child in optimal health throughout his or her school years.
What other kinds of things do you do to make sure your kids are ready for back to school aside from check-ups and such?