Annual School Physicals: What To Expect

By Adrian Sparrow

NeuLine Health

Back-to-school is a hectic time of year. 

School physicals are a requirement for many children as the semester rolls in. Some schools require exams for children entering specific grades and a sports physical before participating in athletic activities. Routine physicals make sure your child is ready for school and sports and check that they are growing up healthy and safe. 

Pediatricians recommend getting an exam every year, focusing primarily on preventative care. By looking over the child’s and family’s medical history, combined with the physical examination, the pediatrician can find potential issues and address them quickly. They might ask questions about serious illness among family, any conditions the child was diagnosed with previously, past injuries, surgeries or hospitalizations, and any current medications. 

Your doctor can address things like learning disabilities or behavioral problems early. This helps both child and caretaker learn to manage them before they cause more significant issues at home or school.

During the physical examination, the doctor will look over several parts of the body. 

  • Height and weight

  • Blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature

  • Vision and hearing; ears, nose, and throat

  • Heart, lungs, and abdomen

  • Posture, joints, and reflexes 

The pediatrician will likely check growth and developmental milestones. They may also ask about social behaviors and learning ability, and any changes since the last exam. Your child gets scheduled immunizations and booster shots, which your doctor will be able to recommend and administer based on their age and health.

To prepare for the exam, bring any medical forms that the doctor needs to fill, and write down any questions or concerns about your child’s physical and mental health and development. Doctor’s offices are usually busy right before school starts, which means appointments will be scarce. Schedule the exam as soon as possible, just in case they need to order any lab work or other tests before filling out the school forms. 



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