Helping Your Child Remain Brave At The Dentist
Originally posted on http://www.mysparklinglife.com/helping-your-child-remain-brave-at-the-dentist/
Preferably sooner rather than later, your child will need to regularly visit a dentist. This is so said experts can ensure that your child isn’t suffering from dental hygiene or growth problems, which can often cause pain, infections, and sometimes serious health concerns. However, it is a very common issue for a child to be afraid of this visit to the dentist.
Even if you opt for the top dentist in your area, one with an absolutely fantastic demeanor around children, it can be hard for children to separate the worries of their imagination from the reality in front of them. This means that as a loving parent, giving them a comfortable push in the right direction can be an astonishing and confident means of getting them the help they deserve.
Allowing your child to remain brave at the dentist will not only allow them to get the treatment they need, but it will help them learn to deal with fears that might be irrational, generally improving their bravery over time. After all, a child is never helped by being overly sheltered, but can truly grow by being exposed to things that they might have otherwise feared (at least in a healthy, constructive manner).
Let us see where you, as a doting parent, should begin:
Make The Dentist Human
Do not refer to the dentist as ‘the dentist’. This can make them seem like a cold professional, almost non-human. Of course they are not, but in the mind of a child, it’s that difference that can, ironically, make all the difference. It’s important to be realistic regarding how children think. If they remain ‘the dentist’ then they could be anything, as cold and as worrying as the scariest tools in their disposal. A child might imagine a blank room where you will not be around to protect them.
Instead, you may choose to say ‘today we’re going to pay Mr. Johnson a visit!’ Of course, they might have a doctorate, in which case it’s important to get the name correct. However, as soon as you put a name to a person, it seems as though they’re going to be cared for. ‘To see the dentist’ is often a worrying phrase also, suggesting that perhaps there is a problem that has caused this impromptu trip to come up that day. Instead, saying ‘Mr. Johnson is going to make sure your teeth are healthy and grow nice and strong!’ will designate said medical professional as an ally, as someone who only cares for the health and wellbeing of your child. You may not think a young mind able to make a massive distinction out of these things, but you’ll be surprised.
Your tone will communicate plenty of information, too. A happy, buoyant tone, almost as if this is a celebration, will show them that there’s nothing to fear because this is a positive experience. You might even talk about how nice the Dentist is, and how you trust them. If you used to attend the same practice as a child yourself, mention that fact. It will show them that there’s truly nothing to worry about.
Use A Sweetener
This pun was not intended, of course. However, using a sweetener to ensure the trip seems a little more fun can be a great idea. It’s why dentists are often known to give well-done stickers at the end of a visit, or perhaps even a sugar-free lollypop. You might also reward them with a trip for some nice, healthy food after the meal, or perhaps going to the movies together. Making a day of it can help it seem like a natural and encouraging thing to experience, rather than a boring and often unhappy event. This is important because with the right dentist, this should be a positive event! Ensuring the health of your child is not some grim duty to be carried out. It is a luxury that many around the planet do not have access to. For that reason, keeping this in mind can help you pass own your own positive perception of this effort.
Allow Them To Ask Questions
Sometimes, a positive tone and an encouraging embrace is not enough to settle the nerves of some children. They might ask question after question. Do not react with irritation or annoyance at this. Answer said questions. They might not quite remember their last visit, so they might ask you how long it takes to get there. You might say ‘not long, and we get to use the beautiful route next to the field with cows!’ This again adds another positive to the trip.
Keep Up The Positivity
Make the dentist a friend. Speak positively when around them with your child. They will likely level with your child, getting down to a similar eyeline and smile, reassuring them. If your child struggles to reply, tell them it is okay. Some Dentists may allow you to hold the hand of your child while they are having their teeth checked, but it is polite to ask, because they have professional standards that need carrying out.
Sometimes, it can also be worthwhile to have your appointment first with them still in the room. A checkup and light clean (if you have the same practice) will show your child that there is absolutely nothing wrong with trusting the dentist completely.
Let Your Dentist Know
All of this advice makes it seem as though you have to somehow trick your child into liking your Dentist. But there is no trickery needed. Dentists are not evil beings that need sugarcoating, particularly those that work in a child-friendly practice. Inform your dentist that they are just a little bit nervous, and they will likely be more than welcoming and just great with your child. They experience this all the time, and have many techniques of helping a child feel settled. They understand. They will not chastise you for letting them know, or take it as a great professional insult. They are highly professional experts, and are all-too-aware of how easy it can be for a child to be scared of the chair and mirror they use. As such, they will be happy to help.
With this advice, we hope your child can overcome their fear of the Dentist, and even enjoy the process of seeing them for their semi-regular checkups.