If you’re the parent of a four- or five-year-old, you know what’s just around the corner: pre-kindergarten and kindergarten! Before you send your little one off to the big school, there are a few things you’ll want to make sure they have taken care of first. We’ve compiled all you need to know in this kindergarten roundup. This includes a trip to the pediatrician for a well child visit, but it’s not just about their vaccines being up to date. Here’s what you need to do to prepare for their first day.
The Benefit of Well Child Visits
When your child turns three, they’ll start visiting the pediatrician for a well child visit on an annual basis. Just as adults have annual physicals, kids need to check in each year as well. These visits include an opportunity for the doctor to assess your child’s social and emotional growth, language and communication skills, cognitive abilities, and physical abilities. Knowing how your child is progressing through established milestones gives your family an idea of their ability to be successful in a school setting. And for some families who have children with birthdays close to the kindergarten cut-off, the kindergarten roundup enables them to determine if this year or next is the better option.
What to Expect at a Kindergarten Roundup Checkup
Most parents think of pediatric visits for your children as a time to get needed shots. While that’s certainly part of the process, your child’s doctor will be assessing so much more about your child, including their height and weight, hearing, and vision. During your kindergarten roundup checkup, you and your child can expect the following:
With regular pediatric visits, your child should have received the immunizations needed between birth and three years. By the time they’re four and five, the immunizations they need include DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis), Hepatitis B, IPV (polio), MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), and Varicella (chicken pox). Most pediatricians will also recommend the flu shot annually. And with the recent FDA approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, that will be another option for your child before enrolling in kindergarten.
A child who is ready to start pre-kindergarten or kindergarten should have reached several milestones, including an expansive vocabulary and the ability to tell stories; sing songs from memory; count to five; and name colors, shapes, and animals. They should be able to dress and undress themselves, use safety scissors, and jump on one foot. Of course, these are the basics, and your child may excel in some areas and lag in others. It’s important to remember that not all children grow at the same rate and milestones only serve to provide information to your pediatrician to assess your child’s progression.
As your children grow and gain independence, their safety is of utmost concern to parents and pediatricians alike. You can expect your pediatrician to ask your child what their full name is, the names of their parents, and even their phone number or address. In your kindergarten roundup, your doctor may also discuss stranger safety and what to do if the child feels unsafe.
In addition to your child’s safety, establishing healthy eating and sleeping habits now will help them to be successful as they start school. Your family’s physician may ask what your child likes to eat, what they do for fun, and how much sleep they get, as well as bed and wake times. Children who are four and five should be getting 10–13 hours of sleep each night, and this is a great time to get them used to going to bed at a regular time each night so they’re ready for school in the morning.
Schedule Your Kindergarten Checkup
If your child is turning four or five and getting excited about starting pre-kindergarten or kindergarten, make sure they’re prepared with a kindergarten roundup. Schedule an appointment with your pediatrician around your child’s birthday or during the summer before school starts so you have time to get them ready for the coming school year.
With preparation for your child and family, you’ll be setting your child up for success in school. Contact Community Choice Pediatrics to get on our calendar.