Children are impressionable young things. Sometimes, an interpretation of something — from a shadow on the wall to a first experience — can bring a mix of emotions that are hard to understand. As a parent, you have the power (and responsibility) to encourage positive perceptions. If your child has never been to the dentist before, they won’t know what to expect. Fortunately, there are several ways to ensure that your childs first dentist appointment — and all the ones that will come after it — will be fun and delightful.
- Stay positive. Children mimic the behavior of the people and adults that they trust. It’s one of the main reasons that responding calmly to an accident can stop young children from spiraling into hysteria: they see that mom isn’t freaking out, so they don’t need to either. When it comes to the dentist, you should exude a calm and maybe even excitable demeanor; your child will inherently think they have nothing to worry about, or that they maybe even have something to look forward to.
- Make the ride there and back a fun one. If your child is nervous about a new experience, do your best to associate it with positive and delightful things. A trip to the toy store for a small treat after each visit, or a walk around the nearby park beforehand, could make all the difference in the eyes of a child.
- Keep the conversation open. Encourage your child to ask any questions they may have regarding their visit for their dental health, and foster a relationship between them and their dentist. Once they realize and understand that there is nothing to worry about, all the uncertainty — especially regarding what to expect — will disappear.
Young children are quite susceptible to their own whims and fancies, but that doesn’t mean you can’t nudge them in the right direction; cavities are 20 times more common than diabetes in kids, so if you can teach them that preventative care methods can be fun and lighthearted at your childs first dentist appointment, they may be spared the pains of poor teeth in adulthood.