For many children, a trip to a dentist may not seem like a lot of fun. Like a lot of experiences in life, however, the attitude that we help our children develop towards an activity is often key in determining whether they will have a positive attitude towards it later in life. Fortunately, teaching children to appreciate the benefits of a dental appointment does not have to be difficult.
Here are just a few ways to make a child’s trip to the dentist an enjoyable one.
- 1. Use Positive Reinforcement
Like any human being, a child will respond much better to positive reinforcement than negative reinforcement. Explaining to a child that you will buy them a toy or take them to the mall if they show good manners during their trip to the dentist will provide them with an incentive to behave well. You can also reward them with something else they like such as video game time. This is better than lecturing them or taking something away from them if they aren’t behaved at the dentist.
- 2. See a Child-Friendly Dentist
Some dentists are very patient with children, and such dentists can be a parent’s best friend. Finding a child-friendly dentist, especially one who is good at communicating to children when they are anxious, is a great way to make a dental appointment into a positive experience for your child.
- 3. Schedule Your Appointment Near Theirs
One of the best ways to show your children why dental appointments are worthwhile is to let them see that you visit the dentist too. By scheduling your appointment around a similar date to your child’s, you’ll teach them that dentistry is a healthy part of life.
- 4. Let Your Children Know Why Dentist’s Visits are Important
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that a simple explanation of life-lessons to a child can do more than a reward ever could. Children are naturally curious about the world and will appreciate your honesty when you level with them about the importance of healthy teeth and gums.
- 5. Compliment Your Child on Their Behavior
For many children, simply hearing that they’ve behaved bravely at a dentist will be all the reward that they’ll need. Children long for approval from their parents, whether we forget it or not. Tell them how much you appreciate their good behavior, and they’ll be more likely to see a dentist’s appointment as a positive experience.
- 6. Call Ahead to Your Dentist’s Office
Remember that a trip to a dentist can be a bit stressful for anyone, and that it’s natural for children to feel a bit anxious before an appointment. Explaining to your dentist’s office that your children are nervous may let your dentist know how to behave during the appointment. Many dentists keep special toys in their office to give children after an appointment is over to take their mind off of the check-up, and many dentists will have a talk with the child before the appointment to make sure that they feel okay about the procedure.
For these reasons, children don’t have to be anxious about a dentist’s appointment. By showing children the right way to behave and rewarding them for good behavior, children will learn a life lesson about good dental health.
Informational credit to Health Centered Dentistry.
Guest post written by Anita. Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She mostly writes about home and family, finance, and business. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and reading a good book.
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