Summer vacation is ending, and it is time to get ready for the next school year. As you put together your back-to-school checklist, make sure you include your child’s annual physical. These appointments are important for your child’s development and are often required by schools before the year starts up.

Getting Ready for Your Child’s Appointment
A back-to-school physical is a great time to connect with your family’s pediatrician or primary care provider. It is an opportunity to talk about your family’s medical history, build trust between your child and your provider, and educate your child on health and wellness as they grow. Before your appointment, talk with your child about the importance of a physical and what the appointment may look like.

What to Expect During a Physical
One of the main parts of a physical is to measure the patient’s vital signs. This includes checking their body temperature, pulse rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure. The provider may also examine their eyes and ears to make sure everything is working as intended.

You can also expect to discuss:

  • The reproductive system. Girls will learn about menses and breast exams. Boys will learn about testicular exams. The provider will teach them how to perform a self-examination.
  • Your family’s medical history. When your provider has a clear picture of your child's genetic makeup, they can address areas of concern early on. Family members can create a journal that includes any history of disease or illness.
  • Your child’s home life. Your provider may discuss your child's activity level, diet, and safety concerns at school or home. They may also address issues such as falling behind in school; trouble with sleeping, learning, or behavior; and any recent changes in a child's family life.
  • Learning or communication concerns. If your child is having learning or communication issues, there may be other areas of concern, such as changes in vision or hearing, coping with stress, or a lack of self-confidence. It is essential to be honest with your provider to address any concerns.
  • Mental health. Your provider can provide guidance, resources, and recommendations. They may ask about your child's gender identity, sexual orientation, and pronouns. Open communication with your child will help them feel heard and included.
  • Vaccinations and lab work. Many schools require vaccinations, and depending on your state, there may be other requirements. Lab work may be needed if there are any underlying medical conditions or a family history of illness. For kids interested in playing a sport, a more thorough examination is needed to make sure they are healthy and safe to play. Areas of concern may involve a history of seizures, allergies, breathing problems, bone or muscle injuries, vision issues, or head injuries.

Here to Help
You and your provider are both a part of a team dedicated to keeping your family healthy. When in doubt, reach out, and your care team will do all that they can to answer your questions and provide you with the support you need.

Jennifer Berger-Vernace, DO
Jennifer Berger-Vernace, DO is a medical provider at Peak Vista’s Health Center at Fountain. She joined the Peak Vista team in 2024. Dr. Berger-Vernace focuses on pediatrics and is fluent in English and Spanish.

To make an appointment or to learn more about other Peak Vista services, visit or call (719) 632-5700.