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A lot of children react nervously or dramatically to new situations with strangers. It’s normal, really – they don’t understand why this strange person is touching them and speaking to them. When it comes to doctor’s visits, haircuts, new teachers or babysitters, their first reaction can be to reject the situation you are trying to put them in. This could be in the form of a tantrum, crying and screaming or wriggling out of the chair they are meant to sit on. This is totally normal behavior – but can prove tricky when a professional is trying to examine them.
Nobody likes going to the dentist; it’s uncomfortable and squeamish even for adults. It is vital that your kids have healthy teeth that are periodically examined by a professional dentist – but how can you introduce them to the situation without scaring them? Here are some helpful tips!
Tell Them Beforehand Where You Are Going and What Will Happen
If you blindside your child with a dentist visit, they might feel totally overwhelmed by it. The best way to go about it is to explain what a dentist is, and why it is important to go. Let them know that you will be there the entire time, and that it won’t take very long. You could frame it as a fun experience where you get to visit a new place and meet a new person who will show them cool equipment! Plus, you could even promise a small treat afterward like a lollipop. Preparing your child for the experience lets them get their head around it and not be overwhelmed.
You Go First
As all moms and dads know, small kids want to copy everything you do. If you are visiting the dentist with your kid, book an appointment for yourself too. Even if you can’t book one, ask the dentist if they wouldn’t mind doing a quick show-examination for your child to watch before they get into the chair. This will help your child relax about the experience of having a strange person fiddling with their teeth – if you show them you don’t mind, or even if you like it, they will be much more likely to accept it too.
When your child is in the chair, they might still get upset, even with these provisions in place. If that happens, do your best to distract them. Don’t get frustrated, but instead try a distraction technique. Every child is different, but popular distractions include singing their favorite songs, talking about what you will be up to for the rest of the day, or reminding them of a nice thing that will happen soon. This will help your child stay a little more still so the dentist can quickly examine their teeth without interruption.
If you are taking your kid to the dentist for the first time, find child-friendly dental services near you which will accommodate your child’s young age and potential outbursts.