Most children are afraid of doctors in general, but you will have a hard time finding a child who is not afraid of the dentist.This is understandable, as they root around inside your mouth, cause pain and use scary looking instruments. Of course, as an adult you can rationalize the fact that these instruments make it so that you don’t have rotten teeth and possibly fatal dental diseases in the future, but that’s just not how kids work. So here are a few tips to blow their little minds.
The sooner you start bringing your kids to the dentist, the sooner they will start to think of it as and unpleasant but routine thing that you need to do twice a year. If you fail to do so they may never get used to the idea.
Be honest. Tell your kids what they can expect, what is probably going to happen, and why it is necessary. Do not tell them that it will be pleasant, or that everything will be fine, or that it won’t hurt at all, because these statement may not be true.
Watch your language. When describing what is going to happen, make sure you do not use words that will scare children, and let the dentist explain what is going to happen if treatment becomes necessary. Kids have great imaginations, which means when you say ‘the dentist may drill your teeth’, they may not sleep for 3 days thinking the doctor is going to hurt them with daddy’s power drill. Just tell them the dentist will check their teeth.
Do not tell them about your own dental stories. They do not have an understanding that you have about dentistry and about medicine, and this may make them confused or even completely scared to go. If they do need to know what is going to happen at the visit, make a pretend visit, where you are the dentist, and your child is the patient.
Do not bribe them. Using bribery to parent is pretty weak parenting to being with, but when at the dentist, if you say things like “if you behave well, you will get a cookie” will make the kids think that something bad is necessarily going to happen.
Tell your children about the importance of good hygiene. Tell them what bad things can happen if they do not go. This tip is more useful if the kid has gone already and does not want to go back. Tell them how it is necessary, and how much worse things will happen if they do not go.
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