Back to School 101: Rockford Edition

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It’s that busy time of year – getting kids back to school!  At Rockford Pediatrics, we understand that there’s a lot on parent’s plates during the month of September.  Here are some tips from Dr. Alt and Dr. Stransky on making the transition back to school a smooth one.

Get some sleep – Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to your child being successful at school.  Kids and teens with their growing bodies require more sleep than adults.  Grade school children should get 9-12 hours of sleep per night and teenagers should get at least 8-10 hours!  Getting your kids on a regular routine with a set bed time can facilitate the transition to getting up earlier in the morning as well.
 

Eat breakfast every day – We’ve all heard it before, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.  Your child will need enough energy to make it through a long day of learning, potentially followed by an after-school sport or activity.  The way to ensure they have the energy to tackle that long day is to provide a good breakfast, preferably with a source of protein (dairy, eggs, meat, nuts, etc).
 

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Plan healthy lunches – Whether your child eats school lunch or packs a lunch for school – make sure they are getting a nutritious lunch.  There should be a source of protein (meat, peanut butter, beans, or dairy) and a fruit or a veggie.  Beverage should be water or low/non-fat milk.  If they are buying a school lunch, ask them what they are getting.  You can even go through the menu ahead of time with your child to give suggestions to make sure they are getting a well-rounded meal.
 

Monitor screen time – Children nowadays are surrounded by screens – phones, TVs, tablets, video games, computers, etc.   Children should have less than 2 hours of recreational screen time per day.  Children, teens and even adults can use some screen free time.  Family dinner time is great way for the whole family to spend an hour off electronic devices.  Modeling screen free time goes a long way to making a good impression on your children.
 

Start homework habits early – Help your child develop good homework habits – designate a location and a time.  Their homework spot should be well lit, quiet and away from distractions like the TV.  The best time to do homework is child dependent - they may do best to get it done right after school or they may need some time to unwind first.  Find what works best for your child.  It is ok to sit with your child when they do their homework, but make sure you aren’t doing it for them.  Remember that homework is their responsibility, not yours. 
 

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Sports and sports physicals - Sports are a great way for kids/teens to stay active, fit and involved.  To participate in a school sport, most schools require a pre-participation physical (a.k.a. sports physical) to be completed.  We can get your child into our office for their sports physical if needed.  For more information on sports physicals, see our blog from last month.
 

Update medication forms - If your child needs to take a medication at school, the school will generally require that you have a medication form filled out, by either the parent or the physician if it is a prescription medication.  Your pediatrician at Rockford Pediatrics can help you get that form filled out if necessary.
 

Stay up to speed at school - If you are concerned about your child’s performance in school, don’t wait for fall conferences to check in with their teacher.  Let them know your concerns or any issues that have been brought up by previous teachers, so they can be aware of these issues from the start of the school year.
 

Show interest in you child's day – Use the drive home from school or family dinner time to hear about your child’s school day.  This is a great way to make sure your child is not being bullied, is making friends and paying attention in school. 
 

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Keep them home when they are sick – Your child should not go to school if they have a fever, are vomiting, or you feel they are contagious to other kids at school.  If you are questioning whether to keep your child home from school, remember that Rockford Pediatrics has a walk-in hour from 8-9 am where our pediatricians can evaluate your child to see if they should stay home from school. 

Give us a call at 616-259-6100 to make your next appointment at Rockford Pediatrics -- we would love to get to know you and your family! 

Back to school sports physicals at Rockford Pediatrics

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At Rockford Pediatrics, we feel that sports are a great way for kids/teens to stay active, fit and involved.  Schools now require a pre-participation physical (a.k.a. sports physical) to be completed prior to being allowed to play.

Why is a sports physical important?

This is a key opportunity to identify risk factors for life-threatening heart conditions and arrhythmias.  It is also a chance the ensure that your child is fit enough for the physical activity that their sport will require.

What are the benefits of going to your pediatrician for your sports physical vs. an urgent care/sports physical clinic?

At Rockford Pediatrics, you have continuity of care and access to your prior medical records and past medical history.  We have the ability to address other medical issues such as asthma, allergies, mental health concerns, female health issues, etc.  Immunizations, which are sometimes required for school, can be reviewed and given if necessary.  If further testing is needed, this can also be ordered and possibly scheduled or performed right in the office.  Also, with the Affordable Care Act, annual physicals should be covered by your insurance company without any cost to you.

What is done at a sports physical?

Your child will have their vitals taken – including height, weight, BMI, blood pressure, heart rate, a hearing screen and a vision screen.  Their growth curves will be reviewed.  A medical history, both personal and family, will be taken.  A complete physical exam will be performed, focusing specifically on the heart, lungs and joints.  Finally, we will provide anticipatory guidance that will benefit their health, both on and off the field.  This can include information on preventing over-use injuries and concussions.

Are there any further tests that are needed?

If there are any red flags in the personal or family history, or any abnormalities found on exam, there could be other tests that are needed.  These tests could include an EKG or an echocardiogram to look at your child’s heart, CBC to look for anemia or spirometry for asthma. 

What needs to be done before a sports physical is performed?

For new patients, having records transferred over (especially if your child has any chronic medical issues) and having a copy of your child’s immunization record is important.  Also, having the MHSAA physical form questionnaire filled out before your visit is essential. We want to make sure that your child does not have a history of heart or lung disease and that there is no family history of heart disease or sudden death before the age of 50.

If your child is in need of a sports physical, call our office today at 616-259-6100.  We can get them in before the start of school!

Sources: Healthychildren.org and pedsinreview.org - the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics

FOX-17 Visits Rockford pediatrics

Rockford Pediatrics Kim Alt FOX-17

Erica Francis, health reporter with FOX-17, stopped by our office to talk with Dr. Alt about what new parents should know before their first visit to the pediatrician

We discussed Rockford Pediatric's philosophy and met with a new family who was in for a visit with Dr. Alt.

Check out the interview on FOX-17!

If you are looking for a pediatrician in the Rockford, MI area, give our office a call at 616-259-6100 to make an appointment for your little one!   

Dr. Kim Alt and Dr. Trew Stransky Open Rockford Pediatrics in the heart of Rockford

Doctors Kim Alt, M.D. and Trew Stransky, D.O. are pleased to announce the opening of their new office on 120 Marcell Dr. NE, Suite C in Rockford. The practice is scheduled to open July 5, 2017 and is appropriately titled Rockford Pediatrics.
 
Dr. Alt and Dr. Stransky are excited about their new building remodel that is nearing completion. They have created a facility that is warm and inviting to children and their families. The goal of Rockford Pediatrics was to create high-quality, local pediatric medical care in a small town, patient centered atmosphere.
 
“We are very excited to become part of the Rockford community,” said Dr. Alt. “Rockford Pediatrics is committed to offer efficient care and immediate availability to our patients.”
 
Dr. Alt earned her undergraduate degree in Human Biology from Michigan State University and then attended medical school at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Alt completed her residency at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. She has been in practice for four years in West Michigan.
 
Dr. Stransky attended the University of Michigan as an undergraduate obtaining a degree in biology and then attended the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine for medical school. Dr. Stransky obtained his residency training at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. He has been in practice for 13 years and back in West Michigan for the last 4 years.
 
“We have really enjoyed building Rockford Pediatrics from the ground up,” said Dr. Stransky. “We believe families are going to love our personalized care, our morning walk-in clinic and our efficient use of technology, just to name a few things.”
 
Dr. Alt and Dr. Stransky are planning on being a part of the upcoming Start of Summer Parade on June 10th.  Rockford Pediatrics has also scheduled a community open house for July 13th from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, so please stop by to welcome the new doctors to Rockford. 
 
Rockford Pediatrics, located at 120 Marcell Dr. NE, Suite C, is now accepting new patients. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Rockford Pediatrics offers same day appointments and a walk-in clinic from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, contact Rockford Pediatrics at 616-259-6100 or visit www.RockfordPediatrics.com

What to expect at baby's first doctor appointment 

Baby's first checkup

You visited the doctor so often when you were pregnant that you were on a first-name basis with the staff, but now it's your baby's turn to get acquainted with Dr. Stransky and Dr. Alt! The lineup of well-baby check-ups during the first year includes at least 7 visits to your pediatrician: usually 3 to 5 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months.

Frequent appointments are the best way to get expert answers to your questions and to make sure your child is on track both physically and developmentally.  And remember, at Rockford Pediatrics we are available 24/7 and will always treat your children as if they were our own.  

At your baby's first appointment, we will check on many things including: feeding, weight, jaundice, sleep, stools plus complete a full head-to-toe physical exam. 

A few pointers for your first visit: 

What and Who to Bring
We encourage both parents to come to the first visit. The first appointment is a great way to meet our staff and get all your questions answered. It is helpful for parents to bring any discharge information they received from the hospital. Also, we encourage families to visit our website and print off the new patient forms ahead of the visit. This will save you time in the office.

Insurance
You should contact your insurance company after the birth of your child to make sure that he or she is added to your policy. We would like families to bring an active insurance card to their first visit or as soon as they receive it.

Shots & Vaccines
We follow the AAP guidelines for immunization administration closely. The first set of shots starts at the two month appointment. So don't worry if you have any questions as you will have several visits before the two month check to have them answered. We are a pro-vaccine office.  In order to maintain the safest environment for our families, we require patients to obtain a basic level of immunizations.

Feeding
Whether you are breast or bottle feeding, we will ensure that your baby is gaining weight appropriately. We schedule weight checks as necessary so parents will feel comfortable that their child is growing normally. We work closely with the lactation consultants in the hospitals to ensure that mothers have the resources they need, even after leaving the hospital.

Digestive Patterns
Baby's bowel movements vary in terms of color and consistency. We know how excited you are to discuss this issue in detail!

Sleeping Patterns
It is not uncommon for newborns to sleep 18 hours a day at first. Most of our growth is done in our sleep. Babies typically double their birth weight by five months of life!  Even though babies sleep a lot, it may feel like you aren't getting much sleep. Don't worry! It will get better and we will try to help you get them on a good schedule.

If you're interested in scheduling an appointment with Dr. Alt or Dr. Stransky, give the office a call at 616-259-6100.