School is starting in as few as 17 days, as many as 29 days for local students. It all depends on your school district.
It’s time to do some investigation of the calendar for the year so you don’t get caught off guard.
Take out the old calendar or your phone and mark off these days:
Meet the teacher for elementary school/orientation or book pickup days for middle school and high school. (It will vary by school; check your school’s website.)
First day of school (Don’t base it at all on last year. It’s a whole different ballgame this year.)
Last day of the six weeks or nine weeks. (Know these because usually a week or two before, your children might have major assignments due).
Exams and STAAR testing dates. Exams vary by district and even by school sometimes. The Texas Education Agency has the 2018 STAAR testing dates on its calendar at tea.texas.gov.
Back to School Night. (This varies by school or by grade, so check out your school’s website).
Major holidays that every one has off like Labor Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Memorial Day.
At some districts holidays like Veteran’s Day, Columbus Day, President’s Day and Good Friday also are student holidays. There also might be other random student holidays.
Late start days or early release dates for high-schoolers.
Thanksgiving Break. (This year, Austin Independent School District is going to a full week of break. Is yours as well?)
Start and finish of winter break.
Bad weather makeup days. (These are set holidays that might be taken away if we have a day of ice or snow or flooding.)
Last day of classes. (Many schools do not go into June this year).
If the kids don’t have school, what is going to be your plan for them? Do you have a baby sitter/relative on hand? Call them now and secure their time. Will kids go to a one-day or week-long camp? Will you need to take off of work? Coordinate that with your boss now.
1. Celebrate Austin’s weird and wild. See 15,000 rubber duckies floating down the river at Austin Duck Derby to benefit Austin Boys & Girls Clubs Foundation. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Aug. 5. Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. austinduckderby.com
Or celebrate all things bat at Bat Fest, 4p.m.-midnight Aug. 19. $15 adults, free for children younger than 8. Austin American-Statesman, 305 S. Congress Ave. roadwayevents.com
Carver Museum offers its Super Science Saturdays. 1 p.m. Aug. 12. George Washington Carver Museum. 1165 Angelina St. Texas Museum of Science & Technology tells you all about the sun (right before the eclipse) during Science Saturday, Noon-4 p.m. Aug. 19. Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org The museum also hosts Star Parties every Friday at 9 p.m. and Wee-Searchers for children 5 and younger, 9 a.m. Aug. 9 and 23.
Hill Country Science Mill is opening its exhibit the Incredible Ball Machine.Step inside a large ball track that you can control with levers and pulleys. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 16. Hill Country Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City. sciencemill.org
Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas is teaming up with the Thinkery for Community Night Aug. 9.Bring your favorite stuffed animal and take him through different interactive stations. Free, but it’s first-come-first-served beginning at 4 p.m. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org
At the library, make a pinhole projector during Solar Eclipse Afternoon, noon Aug. 21 at Howson Branch, tweens explore STEAM with LittleBits Theme Park, 3 p.m. Aug. 2, Spicewood Springs Branch.
If you love dinosaurs, you can see “Jurassic Park” and see fossils and other science materials from UT Dino Museum. 7 p.m. Aug. 19 and Aug. 26. $25 a car, plus admission for more than 2 people. Blue Starlight Mini Urban Drive-in. 12419 Lowden Lane. bluestarlitedrivein.com
3.Celebrate animals. The Austin Humane Society hosts events including story time, 2 p.m. Aug. 8, Humane Hero Hour with cats, 2 p.m. Aug. 1, the Austin Wildlife Rescue, 1 p.m. Aug. 5 and Teddy Bear Surgery, 1 p.m. Aug. 12. You have to register at austinhumanesociety.org. Humane Society, 124 W. Anderson Lane.
See all kinds of different animals at the Austin Pet Expo. It’s free and you can bringbring your pet. Palmer Event Center, 900 Barton Springs Road. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 19, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 20. austinpetexpo.com
Don’t forget the Austin area has two zoos, Austin Zoo and Capital of Texas Zoo, the Texas Reptile Zoo, the Austin Aquarium and not far away are Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch and the Snake Farm.
4. Make art. This month at the Thinkery, the Kitchen Lab and Space 8 lab are all about art. Make Suminagashi Fabrics 11:15 a.m., 1:15 a.m. or 3:15 a.m. Aug. 5-6, Aug. 19-20. $8. Learn Printmaking Galore 11:15 a.m., 1:15 a.m. or 3:15 a.m. Aug. 12-13, Aug. 26-27, $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org
Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum will host its free Family Day 10-4 p.m. Aug. 13. Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum, 605 Robert E. Lee Road. umlaufsculpture.org
The library also offers events for making art. This month, enjoy Crafternoon 3:30 p.m. Aug. 15 at Howson Branch; Family Craft Night, 6 p.m. Aug. 16 at Howson Branch; learn to sew at Sew Happy, 5 p.m. Aug. 1 at Manchaca Road Branch.
5. Enjoy theater. If you haven’t seen the Zilker Summer Musical yet, what are you waiting for? This year it’s “The Wizard of Oz” 8:15 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays through Aug. 12. Free, but donations welcome. Zilker Hillside Theatre, 2206 William Barton Drive. zilker.org.
Summer Stock Austin is bring a new musical based on “The Elves and the Shoemaker” from Allen Robertson and Damon Brown. “A Shoe Story: A Brand New Musical”shows 11 a.m. Aug. 3-4, Aug. 8; 10 a.m. July 29, Aug. 5, Aug. 11-12; 2 p.m. July 30. Tickets $17 and up. Summer Stock Austin also has one-day camps that include a performance Aug. 3, 4 and 8. $50. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org.
Austin Summer Musical for Children is presenting the “Jungle Book” 9:15 a.m. Aug. 12, 11 a.m. 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Aug. 12, 19 and 26, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Aug. 13, 20 and 27. It’s free. Boyd Vance Theater at George Washington Carver Museum. 1165 Angelina St.
Literature Live! Presents: “The Fifolet” Louisiana pirate adventure, specifically for ages 8-12, 4 p.m. Aug. 1 at University Hills Branch; 6 p.m. Aug. 3 at Manchaca Road Branch; 3 p.m Aug. 4 at Little Walnut Creek Branch; 2 p.m. Aug. 6 at Faulk Central Library; 2 p.m. Aug. 7 at Windsor Park Branch; 3 p.m. Aug. 19 at Recycled Reads Bookstore.
6. See a movie for free or very little. The Alamo Drafthouse continues its Kids Club. In August, see “Speed Racer.” 10 a.m. Aug. 1, Aug. 3, Lakeline; “Jumanji,” 10 a.m. Aug. 1-3, Slaughter Lane, 10 a.m. Aug. 4-10, Lakeline, 10 a.m. Aug. 11, Village; “The Secret Life of Pets,” 10 a.m. Aug. 1-3, Mueller, 9:50 a.m. Aug. 4, 10 a.m. Aug. 5-10, Slaughter Lane, 10 a.m. Aug. 11-17, Lakeline; “Song of the Sea,” 10 a.m. Aug. 1-3, Village, 10 a.m. Aug. 4-10, Mueller, 10 a.m. Aug. 11-17, Slaughter Lane; “Speed Racer,” 10 a.m. Aug. 11-Aug. 17, Mueller. The movies are for a $1-$3 donation. drafthouse.com. You also can see PBS Kids at the Alamo. “Ready Jet Go! The Moon and More,” 11 a.m. Aug. 20, Lakeline.
Head to Sunday School with the Austin Film Society’s children’s program. See the Lily Tomlin classic, “The Incredible Shrinking Woman, ” 1 p.m. July 30 and 6 p.m. Aug. 1; and Francois Truffaut’s tale of raucous children, “Small Change,”11 a.m. Aug. 27 and 7 p.m. Aug. 30. $9. Austin Film Society Cinema, 6406 N. Interstate 35, Suite 3100. austinfilmsociety.org
And the library is a great place to see movies for free. In August, see “Beauty and the Beast” (2017), 2 p.m. Aug. 5 at Windsor Park Branch, 4 p.m. Aug. 16, Cepeda Branch; “Sing,” 6:30 p.m. Aug. 8 at Twin Oaks Branch; “Wizard of Oz.” 3:30 p.m. Aug. 18, Old Quarry Branch; “Secret Life of Pets,” 2 p.m. Aug. 10 at Old Quarry Branch.
7. Go outside. We know it’s hot. We get that. Head out in the early morning or at dusk for the least heat-exhaustion inducing experience. Explore new-to-you pools or water parks, try out a new playground from our list of top 25, plus some other great ones; go dinosaur digging at the Austin Nature & Science Center; check out the Wildflower Center and its Sprouts preschool program, 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, and Nature Play Hour in the Family Garden, 11 a.m. Saturdays. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org
We know when you think of August in Austin, you think “Boy, it’s hot” and “Ugh, school is starting.” In between those two thoughts, have this one: Austin has a lot of fun things to do with families. Enjoy our list:
Woodland Faerie Trail. See fairy houses on this trail. Through Aug. 6 Free with admission. Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Road. zilkergarden.org.
Domain Northside Kids. Come to the lawn at the Domain Northside for activities for kids 18 months to 6 years old. Free. 10 a.m.-noon Aug. 2. Reservations required, domainnorthside.com.
Austin Humane Society kids events. Humane Hero Hour with cats. 2 p.m. Aug. 1. Austin Wildlife Rescue. 1 p.m. Aug. 5. Story time with cats and dogs. 2 p.m. Aug. 8. Teddy Bear Surgery. 1 p.m. Aug. 12. Register at austinhumanesociety.org. Humane Society, 124 W. Anderson Lane.
Back to School STEM Saturday.Free STEM activities for the whole family. 9:30 a.m.-noon Aug. 5. Free. Girlstart. 1400 W. Anderson Lane. girlstart.org
Bat Fest. Celebrate all things bat with music, children’s activities and more. 4 p.m.-midnight Aug. 19. $15 adults, free for children younger than 8. Austin American-Statesman, 305 S. Congress Ave. roadwayevents.com
7th Annual Austin Pet Expo. See all kinds of pets and things for your pet. Free. Bring your pet. Palmer Event Center, 900 Barton Springs Road. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 19, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 20. austinpetexpo.com
Back to School
AISD Back to School Bash. Get free backpacks and supplies, medical screenings and vaccinations with shot record. 9 a.m.-noon Aug. 12. Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road. Buses leave from Guerrero Thompson and Summitt elementary schools; Bedichek, Martin, Mendez and Covington middle schools; and Lanier and Reagan high schools. austinisd.org/bash
Bastrop Back to School Bash. Receive free school supplies and more.8:30-10:30 a.m. Aug. 12 at the Bastrop ISD Memorial Stadium in Cedar Creek. bisdtx.org
Thinkery.Community Night with Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas. Bring your favorite stuffed animal and take him through different interactive stations. Free. First-come-first-served beginning at 4 p.m. Aug. 9. Community Night Spotlight on LGBTQ Family Pride.Sew a pride flag, cook up a healthy snack and more. Free. First-come-first-served beginning at 4 p.m. Aug. 16. Baby Bloomers. Have an animal adventure. For infant to 3. Learn about the sea all month long. 9 a.m. Mondays and Saturdays. Special guests throughout the month. $5. Suminagashi Fabrics. Learn the ancient Japanese marbling technique. 11:15 a.m., 1:15 a.m. or 3:15 a.m. Aug. 5-6, Aug. 19-20. $8. Printmaking Galore. 11:15 a.m., 1:15 a.m. or 3:15 a.m. Aug. 12-13, Aug. 26-27, $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org
Texas Museum of Science & Technology. Wee-Searchers for children 5 and younger. Learn about science through song, play and stories. 9 a.m. Aug. 9 and 23. Science Saturday: The Sun. Noon-4 p.m. Aug. 19. Star Party. Look at the stars. 9 p.m. Fridays. Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org
Wildflower Center. Sprouts. Hands-on preschool program. 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. Nature Play Hour. Play in the Family Garden. 11 a.m. Saturdays. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org
Toybrary Austin. Gardening Class. 10:45 a.m. Tuesdays. Free. Salt painting. 10:30 a.m. Aug. 2 $7. Date night babysitting. For ages 1-5. $25 first child, $10 siblings. 5-8 p.m. Saturdays.Pizza Party with Spunky Kids. 10:30 a.m. Aug. 10. $10 per child/adult pair. Africa Safari with Elizabeth Kahura. $10. 10:30 a.m. Aug. 11. Daddy & Me Drum Classes. 10:45 a.m. Aug. 15. $10. Clown Show with Silly Sparkles. 10:30 a.m. Aug. 24. $10. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane. toybraryaustin.com
Alamo Kids Club. $1-$3 children’s movies, which support a local nonprofit. “Speed Racer.” 10 a.m. Aug. 1, Aug. 3, Lakeline. “Jumanji.” 10 a.m. Aug. 1-3, Slaughter Lane. 10 a.m. Aug. 4-10, Lakeline. 10 a.m. Aug. 11, Village. “The Secret Life of Pets.” 10 a.m. Aug. 1-3, Mueller. 9:50 a.m. Aug. 4, 10 a.m. Aug. 5-10, Slaughter Lane. 10 a.m. Aug. 11-17, Lakeline. “Song of the Sea.” 10 a.m. Aug. 1-3, Village. 10 a.m. Aug. 4-10, Mueller. 10 a.m. Aug. 11-17, Slaughter Lane. “Speed Racer.” 10 a.m. Aug. 11-Aug. 17, Mueller.
PBS Kids at the Alamo. “Ready Jet Go! The Moon and More.” 11 a.m. Aug. 20, Lakeline.
“A Shoe Story: A Brand New Musical.” Summer Stock Austin presents this family theater show based on “The Elves and the Shoemaker.” It’s written by Allen Robertson and Damon Brown and directed by Allen Robertson. 7:30 p.m. July 25; 11 a.m. July 28, Aug. 3-4, Aug. 8; 10 a.m. July 29, Aug. 5, Aug. 11-12; 2 p.m. July 30. Tickets $17 and up. Summer Stock Austin also has one-day camps that include a performance Aug. 3, 4 and 8. $50. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org
“The Wizard of Oz.” Zilker Summer Musical returns with adventure on the yellow brick road. 8:15 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays through Aug. 12. Free, but donations welcome. Zilker Hillside Theatre, 2206 William Barton Drive. zilker.org.
Austin Summer Musical for Children: “Jungle Book.” 9:15 a.m. Aug. 12, 11 a.m. 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Aug. 12, 19 and 26, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Aug. 13, 20 and 27. Free. Boyd Vance Theater at George Washington Carver Museum. 1165 Angelina St.
Austin Symphony Hartman Concerts in the Park. 7:30 p.m. Sundays through Aug. 27. Free. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org
LBJ Presidential Library Summer Storytime. Austin Fire Department Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr will read a story followed by a visit from Austin Fire Department firefighters and a fire truck. 10 a.m. Aug. 11. LBJ Presidential Library and Museum, 2313 Red River St. www.lbjlibrary.org
BookPeople events.Chandler Baker reads “This is Not the End.” 6 p.m. Aug. 12. James Crowley reads “Monsterland.” 6 p.m. Aug. 19. Duncan Jones reads “The Zebra Just Couldn’t Decide.” 6 p.m. Aug. 22. Story times: Austin Summer Musical. 10:30 a.m. Aug. 1. Siblings Rock. 10:30 a.m. Aug. 2. Milly McSilly. 10:30 a.m. Aug. 8. Ms. Staci. 10:30 a.m. Aug. 9. Get Your Giggles. 11:30 a.m. Aug. 12. Armstrong Community Music School. 10:30 a.m. Aug. 15. Tiny Tails Petting Zoo. 10:30 a.m. Aug. 16. Back to School. 11:30 a.m. Aug. 19. Bilingual Boogie. 10:30 a.m. Aug. 22. Luchador Legends. 10:30 a.m. Aug. 23. Global Stories. 11:30 a.m. Aug. 26. Heartsong Music. 10:30 a.m. Aug. 29. Modern First Library. 10:30 a.m. Aug. 30.BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com.
Barnes & Noble Events: Lego Boost. 3 p.m. Aug. 5, Lakeline. 11 a.m. Saturday story time at all locations: “Peterrific” and “Aqualicious.” Aug. 5. “Goodnight Lab: A Scientific Parody.” Aug. 12. “Nothing Rhymes with Orange.” Aug. 19. “How to Get Your Teacher Ready.” 11 a.m. Saturday.
At the library
Literature Live! Presents: “The Fifolet.” For ages 8-12.4 p.m. Aug. 1, University Hills Branch; 6 p.m. Aug. 3, Manchaca Road Branch; 3 p.m Aug. 4, Little Walnut Creek Branch; 2 p.m. Aug. 6, Faulk Central Library; 2 p.m. Aug. 7, Windsor Park Branch; 3 p.m. Aug. 19, Recycled Reads Bookstore.
Sew Happy. 5 p.m. Aug. 1, Manchaca Road Branch.
Camp Bluebonnet: “Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-soaking Stream of Inventions.” 2 p.m. Aug. 2, Howson Branch. “Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay.” 2 p.m. Aug. 7, Howson Branch. “The Storyteller.” 2 p.m. Aug. 9, Howson Branch. “Follow the Moon Home.” 2 p.m. Aug. 14, Howson Branch. “The Princess and the Warrior.” 2 p.m. Aug. 16, Howson Branch.
Storybook Dance Making. 2 p.m. Aug. 13, Recycled Reads Bookstore.
Teen Book Club: “The Impossible Knife of Memory.” 6:30 p.m. Aug. 15, Howson Branch. “A Monster Calls.” 6:30 p.m. Aug 17, Spicewood Springs Branch. “The Cats of Tanglewood Forest.” 6 p.m. Aug. 30, Spicewood Springs Branch.
Crafternoon. 3:30 p.m. Aug. 15, Howson Branch.
Family Craft Night. 6 p.m. Aug. 16, Howson Branch.
Mother-Daughter Book Club. “Smile.” 6 p.m. Aug. 16, Hampton Branch.
Family Movie Matinee. “Beauty and the Beast” (2017). 4 p.m. Aug. 16, Cepeda Branch.
Teen Book Club: “A Monster Calls.” 6:30 p.m. Aug. 17, Spicewood Springs Branch.
Family Movie Matinee: “Wizard of Oz.” 3:30 p.m. Aug. 18, Old Quarry Branch.
Back to School Book Sale. 10 a.m. Aug. 19, 2 p.m. Aug. 20, Yarborough Branch.
Fix It Clinic. Learn how to fix your broken stuff. Noon Aug. 19, Recycled Reads Book Store.
Solar Eclipse Afternoon: Make Pinhole Projectors. Noon Aug. 21, Howson Branch.
Night Builders Family Lego Lab. 7 p.m. Aug. 24, Hampton Branch.
My kids might be becoming less and less intelligent with each second this summer. They’ve been doing a lot of mindless YouTube watching. Pick up a book? Are you kidding, Mom? Go out and play? Forget it.
They are experiencing the summer brain drain … those three months of the year when the things they learned in school slowly leave their brains.
Even beyond the academics, James Bray, an associate professor of family and community medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and family psychologist, says kids lose the habit of learning. “If you take two or three months off, you get out of the habit of focusing and learning,” he says. It can take weeks or months to get back into that habit, he says, rather than being able to just jump right in at the start of the school year.
Learning helps in brain development, Bray says. It’s one of those things — to be a better learner, you have to practice learning.
That doesn’t mean that kids have to hit learning with the same intensity in the summer that they did during the school year. “It’s important to take some time off,” he says, “But it’s important to continue to engage in activities.”
Austinite and University of Texas graduate Cristal Glangchai founded VentureLabs and VentureGirls to teach kids how to think like entrepreneurs using science technology engineering and math skills. She also has four children and she gets that not everyone can afford to do a different summer camp each week, but what they can do is turn their home into the lab and encourage kids to think as scientists and entrepreneurs. It’s taking fun ideas a step further. “How can we take an idea and turn it into a product and turn it into a company?” she asks.
That might mean that your kids decide to make their own Lego kits and sell them to their friends, or they try hydroponics and sell their plants to the neighbors.
With Bray and Glangchai’s help, here are 10 cool things you could do with the last few weeks of summer to get your kids thinking again:
1. Get reading, and not just the books teachers assigned them, but the ones they want to read. (If they need a list of suggested books, columnist Sharyn Vane has one at austin360.com.) Austin Public Library’s branches have daily activities at the library for kids — everything from story tellers to art projects. Kids can even join a book group. Several programs offer incentives to read. Check out the ones from the Austin Public Library, BookPeople and Half Price Books.
2. Observe the world around you and then ask “what if” questions. That means you look at the moon one night and ask, “what if we could colonize the moon? What would that take?” Get kids thinking big thoughts. Also ask them: “What did you try today?” “What did you fail at today?” “What’s one cool thing you learned today?”
3. Classify everything and anything. If your kid is interested in the cicadas that are causing a racket at your house, have him research the different kind of cicadas or even all the different insects he sees.
4. Turn trash into treasure. Use what’s in your recycling bin to make art or a game or a new product. Nothing good in your bin? Take a trip to the Austin Creative Reuse (6406 N. Interstate 35, No. 1801, austincreativereuse.org) to pick up supplies for an art project.
5. Take an online class. Instructibles.com has classes for kids but it also has a Fidget Spinners design challenge going on right now. DIY.com also has classes. Some you have to pay for, but you can pay $49.95 for two years of instructions. Right now you can make a rocket with four videos. The good thing is it’s not just making the thing, DIY.com classes also explain the “why” behind the class.
6. Experiment with 1,000 ways to make one thing. Slime is big right now. Make it with corn starch and water, try it with glue and Borax, or vinegar, baking soda and skim milk. Try it in different colors with different add-ins like glitter. We found recipes at homesciencetools.com. Don’t like slime? Think about making Play-doh or even ice cream or smoothies.
7. Play board games or card games (or better yet, invent a board game). Games teach us how to communicate as well as to use math and reading skills. Plus, you’re doing something together as a family. Just make sure to set the ground rules that winning isn’t everything.
8. Learn a new technology. Check out hourofcode.com for coding activities and games for all ages. You can code with characters like Moana, Elsa and Gumball for the younger kids, but for the middle school and up kids, hourofcode.com has more activities. Shh, don’t tell them. Coding is actually using math and logic skills.
9. Take an in-person class. The Thinkery now has $8 classes on Saturdays and Sundays. You can do things like dissect a cow eye or make a e-wearable fashion piece that lights up. You also can find classes at Home Depot and Michael’s, or take an art class at Art Garage or other local stores.
10. Watch TV. Yikes! Really? Well, starting Sunday, it’s Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. Why not learn something new about sharks? If sharks aren’t your kids’ jam, you can go to PBS Learning Media to look up old shows and search for content by topic. So if, for example, someone in your house is interested in black holes, you can find episodes of “Nova,” “Quest,” “Space Time” and “Physics Girl.” It also categorizes shows by ideal audience age, too. You also can find good content at PBS Digital Studios and on the PBS Digital Studios YouTube channel. Shows your kids might love include “Physics Girl,” “BrainCraft,” “It’s … Gross Science!” and Austin-based “It’s Okay to Be Smart” with biologist Joe Hanson.
Yes, I know that school is not out yet for most kids. I get that. Now is the time to get your doctor appointments to get your sports physicals and make sure your vaccinations are current.
Before you go, make sure you print out the sports physical form found on your school district’s website if you have a rising seventh grader and up. You never know if your previously unathletic kid might decide to try out for basketball. Many summer camps also require it.
Also, find that pesky shot record that you shoved in some file cabinet or drawer last summer.
Kids need these vaccinations for the 2017-2018 school year:
Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis: four or five doses depending on which version your kid got.
Polio: four or three doses
Measles, Mumps and Rubella: two doses
Hepatitis B: three doses
Varicella: two doses
Hepatitus A: two doses
Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis: three doses of the primary series plus a booster within the last five years
Meningococcal: one dose
Seventh grade is often where parents get caught. They bring their kids to the first day of school only to have them have to sit in the cafeteria until they can produce a shot record or get their vaccines up to date.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends these vaccines for the 11-year-old or 12-year-old check up:
Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine helps protect against HPV infections that cause cancer. All boys and girls should finish the HPV vaccine series before they turn 13 years old.
Quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine
Quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine protects against some of the bacteria that can cause infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicemia). These illnesses can be very serious, even fatal.
Tdap vaccine provides a booster to continue protection from childhood against three serious diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (also called whooping cough).
Preteens and teens should get a flu vaccine every year, by the end of October if possible. It is very important for preteens and teens with chronic health conditions like asthma or diabetes to get the flu shot, but the flu can be serious for even healthy kids.
That check up is also a time to make sure that all the other shots they should have had by kindergarten are up to date. If not, you’ve given yourself the summer to catch up.
There is some movement by the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine to add some vaccine recommendations to the 16-year-old check up. It would like doctors to routinely give 16-year-olds a second dose of meningococcal ACWY and the meningococcal B vaccine. All good ideas before heading off to college.
Most health insurance plans cover the cost of vaccines. If you don’t have insurance, or if it does not cover vaccines, the CDC’s Vaccines for Children program provides vaccines for children ages 18 years and younger, who are not insured, Medicaid-eligible, or American Indian or Alaska Native.
There is a way to get a vaccine exemption if you deem it necessary. Go to www.ImmunizeTexas.com under “School & Child-Care.” Please understand that when you choose that it’s not just your child you’re choosing it for. You’re choosing to not protect the many kids and adults who cannot have vaccines because of health conditions. Let’s not go back to the days of small pox.