What to Do If Your Children Are Scared of the Dentist
Just about any parent who has multiple children will tell you that each child is different. One example of this is fear of going to the dentist. While one child may have no issues with this task, another could have a great deal of anxiety about it. If the latter describes your children, here are a few suggestions you may try.
Buy a Children’s Book
As you might imagine, this problem is not new. As a result, people have written hundreds of excellent children’s books on the subject, each of them ending with a scared child conquering their fear. Reading one with your children will allow them to do two things. First, they will see what a dentist office is, which will give them an accurate idea of what to expect. Second, they can relate to the main character of the book and aspire to go on that same journey of being brave and getting through a dental appointment.
Walk Them Through the Process
Part of the reason why children are so afraid of medical situations is that they do not understand them. In the absence of hands-on experience, they fill in the blanks with their worst fears. You can eliminate this issue by giving your children an accurate idea of what their dental visit will be like. Take them through the entire process, from the waiting room to getting back in the car to go home.
Find an Excellent Pediatric Dentist
Another effective way to ease your children’s fears is finding an excellent pediatric dentist. Though most medical professionals are good at what they do, some are more personable than others. The best dentists in St. Louis will know how to calm your children down and put a smile on their face. Doing so will lead to a smooth appointment and less anxiety going forward.
Encourage Them to be Brave
When it comes to behavioral change, using positive reinforcement is almost always better than negative. You can apply this principle to going to the dentist. Rather than threatening your children or warning them about the cavities they’ll get, try to be more positive. A great way to do so is by encouraging them to be brave. Kids know how desirable of a trait this is, and may rise to the occasion with little resistance.
Lastly, you can use incentives. Whether its a food, toy store, or activity, you can use one of your children’s favorite things to get them to the dentist. Most offices have their own version of this, too. It is usually in the form of a sugar-free lollipop or a toy from a bin.
Your children being afraid of the dentist may seem like a problem, but it is not one that is insurmountable. Instead, you can utilize a variety of tried and true methods that have worked for thousands of parents in the past. Once you find the right one for your kids, your family’s dental fear issue will be a thing of the past.