There are so many firsts our children experience that mark their growth through the years and touch us to remember. First steps. First tooth. First haircut. First dental visit.
Visiting the dentist can be a new and exciting adventure for you and your little one.
There are so many reasons to be immensely grateful for this stage in their lives, as literally some new part of their personality develops into the person they will grow into over the years. Many children love new experiences, though it is important to prepare them for important and regular visits like their first dental visit.
We have heard your feedback and know that life with a young child can be challenging but going to the dentist shouldn't be. So here are some tips on how to prepare your child for their first visit to the dentist.
Keep Them Talking
It is true that your little one may not have the biggest vocabulary but if your keep them talking about the visit with what they know, you will have a much better way of knowing whether they are nervous or worried. Not much weighs on the minds of children, but when it is something they don't understand, it can feel the weight of the world is on their little shoulders. The best way to combat that, is to keep them talking about it so you can pinpoint fears and ease them into the appointment.
Find Books or TV Shows That Talk About Going to the Dentist
It can help to introduce the idea to them with their favourite TV characters or reading books about the dentist with them, you will be able to understand their reaction to what they are seeing. When children see their cartoon heroes going to the dentist, it takes on the "cool factor" in their imagination. Who doesn't want to be as cool as the shows they see on TV.
Take Them Before the Appointment
It may not be possible at every office but if your child is showing a great deal of nervousness before the appointment, it is worth calling ahead and asking if you can bring them in to show them around the office for about 15 minutes a few days before the appointment. Introducing them to the environment and the chair where they will be sitting helps to make them feel more comfortable and in control of the situation for their upcoming visit.
Work in a Reward
We know that right after visiting the dentist you might not want to give your child the traditional treats and sweets you would normally, which can make visits to the dentist even more special for them. Find out what kind of experience they are expecting to have and ensure that when the dentist appointment rolls around, they are excited for it because they know what is coming as a treat. It is also important to tell them that the treat and appointment are connected and explain the reason for wanting to give them something special - because it is important to take care of yourself and regular self-care like dental appointments are a positive thing.
Prepare Yourself Too
This is a huge moment and milestone. Your child might have been to appointments before that they were able to fully understand and this is one of the first times their little minds are taking everything in and responding to what is around them. The beauty of that has everything to do with all the hard work you have done to bring up such a beautiful little being. Take a moment to stop and savour how wonderful this moment is because "firsts" are what make family life so sweet. If you have any questions about the appointment, feel free to call in advance and have them answered so that on the day of the appointment your focus can be on how your little one is doing from the moment you enter the office.
Children tend to enjoy situation and evens as much as we do, so show them that you are proud of them by telling them or showing them how much they mean to you. Before you know it, they will be excitedly asking when it is time to go to the dentist again!
If we are being honest, we are just as excited as them for that next appointment!
See you in the office!
This blog was written by Cheryl Costello