Below are guidelines for parents of middle schoolers on how to keep your tween on the healthy track this year. Ideally, you should tackle the checklist in the summer, so that you have everything in order before the new school year begins.
The Middle School Health Checklist
- Review His Medical History: Review your child's medical history, making sure you provide the school with up-to-date information. Jot down any issues you want to discuss with your child's pediatrician, eye doctor or dentist. Make note of any medical changes your child experienced since last seeing the doctor (such as starting puberty or having trouble seeing the blackboard). Also, ask your child if there's any information he or she would like the school nurse to know ahead of time.
- Make a Well Child Appointment: Before school begins make sure your child visits his pediatrician, dentist, eye doctor and orthodontist so that you minimize taking him out of school for appointments during the year. Many schools require several booster immunizations before a child enters 6th grade. When you make your appointment, be sure to mention this. The doctor's appointment might also be the ideal time to begin your daughter's or son's HPV vaccines. Consult with your insurance company beforehand so you know whether or not the shots are covered.
If your child is playing a school sport, he or she might also need a sports physical. At a sports physical the doctor will evaluate your child in order to make sure that he or she is capable of playing a rigorous sport. Bring a blank sports physical form with you to the appointment, so that your child's doctor can fill it out while you're there.
- Communicate with the School Nurse: The school nurse needs to know about any underlying health issues your child might have, such as asthma or food allergies. If your child needs any medication during the school day, you may need to provide her with the medicine, as well as with doctor's instructions on how to administer the medication properly.
- Review School Policy: Before school begins review the school policy on when to keep a sick child at home, as well as the policy on the number of missed days that are allowed per year. Find out if your child will need a note from the doctor when he's sick and misses school. Knowing all these things ahead of time will help you manage the situation a bit easier when the time comes.
- Review Home Alone Rules: If your child will be coming home to an empty house it's important that you review your safety rules with him ahead of time. Make sure he knows how to contact you, as well as a trusted neighbor or friend should something happen while he's home alone. He should also understand basic first aid information and know when and how to contact 911.