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Earn an A in Back-to-School Health


Authored by Dr. Nicholas Cundiff, DO
Pediatrics, Day Kimball Healthcare

A Norwich Bulletin Healthy Living Column

Well, it is that time of year again. Back-to-school season. Parents are purchasing new backpacks, fresh #2 pencils, Paw Patrol folders, and appropriately fitting clothing for their rapidly growing children. There is certainly a long list of check boxes to get through – but have you added an annual wellness exam to the agenda?

They may go by many names: well child checks, back-to-school check-ups, wellness visits, annual physicals, sports physicals. Whatever you call them, they are vital opportunities to assess your child for any emotional, developmental, or social concerns.

The chaos of the past 18 months has led to many missed visits, screening questionnaires and immunizations, making this year’s physical more important than ever. Here are some of the major benefits of annual well child checks:

  • Prevention. This is one of the primary goals of well checks: preventing future illnesses before they arise. It is achieved primarily through immunizations, nutritional education, dental health guidance, and safety recommendations for home and school.
  • Tracking growth and development. By plotting on a graph your child’s height, weight, and body mass index, we evaluate for healthy growth. We will ask questions assessing your child’s motor skills, language, and social skills to ensure appropriate developmental milestones are being reached for their age.
  • Answering parental concerns. We encourage bringing a list of questions or concerns that you have about your child’s health. Topics could include issues with behavior, sleep, allergies, eating habits, or family dynamics.
  • Cultivating a medical home. Annual visits help create strong, trustworthy relationships between the pediatrician, parent, and child. This relationship can be vital if further concerns or illnesses arise as the school year progresses.

As pediatricians, we are constantly striving to provide the best care for your child at their well child checks. To keep up with the ever-evolving world of pediatric medicine, we have adapted some new practices since your child’s last annual physical. Some of these updates this year include offering COVID-19 vaccines, dental fluoride varnish application, and a 2.5 year-old well child check that focuses on closer developmental monitoring.

So parents, earn an A in back-to-school health and schedule your child’s annual wellness exam today!

Dr. Nicholas Cundiff is a pediatrician at Day Kimball Healthcare’s Pediatric Center in Putnam, Connecticut. To learn more about pediatric services at Day Kimball Healthcare, visit


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