By Amy Elsbury


It feels like the kids were just released for summer break and are now we’re fast approaching back-to-school time. As families gradually get back into their school-day routines and prepare for the first day of classes, I like to remind people to schedule your comprehensive well-check visits and ensure that vaccinations are part of your back-to-school plan. As a Family Nurse Practitioner, I can tell you that regular check-ups and up-to-date vaccinations are crucial for maintaining a child’s overall health, preventing the spread of infectious diseases, and ensuring a smooth transition into the school environment.

Well-check visits may be easy to overlook¾especially if your child seems happy and healthy¾but they are an important back-to-school activity that every parent should have on their to-do list. These appointments are a proactive measure to monitor your child’s growth, development, and overall health. It’s an opportunity for healthcare providers to detect any potential health concerns and allows parents to discuss any questions or concerns they may have about their child’s physical, emotional, or social well-being.

As a medical professional and a parent, I encourage you to schedule your child’s appointment at your earliest convenience and be sure to gather any required forms, medical records, and immunization histories. Being organized will help streamline the appointment process and ensure accurate documentation of vaccinations. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s health and development, write them down. Creating a list of concerns or questions you have about your child’s health or development makes sure you’re not distracted and that you’ll address everything you need to during your appointment.

If you’ve got your well-check appointments scheduled, good for you! And don’t forget that vaccinations should also be a part of your back-to-school plan. Vaccinations are an important safeguard for children’s health and prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Vaccines are rigorously tested and proven to be safe and effective in preventing various illnesses, such as measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, and more. By ensuring your child’s vaccinations are up-to-date, you not only protect their health but also contribute to maintaining a safe and healthy school environment for all students.

Schools often require certain vaccinations for enrollment, so check with your school and ensure your child has all the required vaccinations. Compliance with these vaccination requirements benefits your child and supports the collective health of the school community. In addition to your school’s requirements, familiarize yourself with the recommended vaccination schedule for your child’s age group. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides comprehensive guidelines on immunization schedules, ensuring children receive vaccines at the appropriate age to maximize their effectiveness.

As the lazy days of summer give way to the hustle and bustle of the new school year, take this important step for your child’s overall health and well-being. By prioritizing these proactive measures, you are charting the course for your child’s success in school and setting them on a path toward a healthy and bright future.

Amy Elsbury is a Family Nurse Practitioner with Southwest Family Medicine, a division of Southwest Behavioral & Health Services (SB&H). To find a health professional or for more information about SB&H programs and services, visit