Don't Fear The Dentist - How To Teach Your Child To Not Be Afraid
Most kids are afraid to go to the dentist, but there are some things you can do to make it much easier. Here are some tips on getting your kids to go.
Get Started Taking Them Early
One of the biggest mistakes parents make is that they don't take their kids to their dentists until they've got a problem. This means that it's going to be a painful visit, and what happens is that the child begins to associate dentists with pain at an early age. This is a possible cause for anxiety in adults over going to a dental clinic. If you take them to a pediatric dentist as early as two years old, they'll see a friendly person who gives them a toy when it's done! The psychological effect is very powerful.
Establish Healthy Brushing Habits
Another thing that will help is making sure that your kids take care of their teeth. This will mean that there will be fewer trips to the dentist for procedures that are painful. If most of their childhood memories are of getting their teeth cleaned, this will make them much happier about going to their regular check-ups in the future. Get them brushing and flossing properly and always make sure that they understand the importance of keeping their teeth healthy themselves.
Don't Use The Dentist As Punishment
Here is another common mistake - Parents tell their kids that if they don't brush their teeth every night before bed, they'll take them to that evil tooth doctor who'll give them a big shot! It may work to scare your kids into brushing, but they're going to be trembling the next time you take them for a teeth cleaning. This is a great way to turn them into mental cases and make sure their teeth rot at an early age because they're terrified of the wicked man with the giant needle.
Role Play A Visit
If your kids start showing signs of anxiety (and most kids do!), try role playing the visit before you go. Get a couple of their favorite toys and have them get their teeth cleaned. In just the same way as we can role play going to the bathroom for potty training, we can role play dental visits. Everybody has a wonderful time and they feel great after the cleaning is over! Show them that it's no big deal and explain that if it hurts, it's only because they're trying to get their teeth cleaned. Let them know that it's natural and there's nothing to be afraid of.
Show Them That You're Not Afraid
Finally, kids with parents who are visibly afraid of the dentist usually develop this fear too. Even if you're shaking inside, show them that you're happy to go and get your teeth cleaned. If you set an example of bravery, this will show your little one that there's nothing to worry about.
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