Going to the dentist is not the most fun activity, especially for the kids. In fact, dental fear and anxiety is becoming a more common and more serious problem among kids. They see their visit to the dentist as a scary experience. Some kids get over it but others don't and even bring this anxiety until they become adults. As parents, we would want for our kids to get over this fear and see dental visits as a positive experience. Here are some ways to make visit to the dentist fun for your kids:
1) Make Dental Visits Rewarding
Offering some small but interesting rewards after the dental visit will make your kid excited. The reward does not really have to be expensive but it should be something your kid is interested at. It can be a cone of his favorite ice cream, a new toy, or even just additional video game time. Be creative.
2) Pair The Dental Visit With A Fun Activity
If your only agenda for the day is the dental visit, your kids will never appreciate days when your bring him to the dentist. Pair the dental visit with a fun activity such as eating at his favorite restaurant, visiting his favorite toy store, going to an interactive museum, watching a movie, or going to a theme park. This way, he will feel like every dental day is a fun day!
3) Explain The Importance Of Dental Visits
Explaining to your kids the importance of dental visits is the best way to get their compliance. If you find it hard to explain to them because they do not seem to listen, show them educational videos or introduce them to characters like Dudley the Dinosaur (the character introduced by the American Dental Association) who will teach them the importance of dental visits.
4) Do Not Leave Their Side
Do not leave your kids' side during the entire process. Your presence will give your kids extra comfort so that they will not be afraid of the dentist. While it is important to teach them independence, a kid's dental anxiety will most likely worsen if they underwent the process alone. Holding your kid's hand and hearing your voice during the dental procedure will make them at ease.
5) Lead By Example
Kids tend to mimic their parents so if you show them that you are excited about your dental appointments, the tendency is they will be excited about theirs as well! If possible, you can also set your appointments on the same day and with the same dentist so that they will think that if you can do it, they can do it too.
6) Listen To Their Concerns
Dental visits can be a very stressful experience for your kids. Instead of forcing and imposing for them to go, listen to what their fears and concerns are. This way, you can validate their feelings and address their fears by telling them that there is nothing to worry about.
7) Let Them Choose What To Wear
This might seem like an odd advice but allowing your kids choose what to wear will give them an extra dose of courage as they face their dentist. Whether they choose regular clothes or their favorite superhero costume, giving them the freedom to choose clothes that they are comfortable at will give them a boost of confidence.
8) Allow Them To Bring Comfort Things
Be it their favorite stuffed toy, favorite blankie, or even their portable game console, bringing their comfort things will put them at ease. This will also possibly distract them while at the dental clinic.
9) Go To Non-Traditional Dental Clinics
Sometimes the mere sight of the dental clinic already gives your kids anxiety. Take them to non-traditional dental clinics such as mobile dental clinics because most of the time, they don't look like your usual dental offices. Take them to dental clinics with a lot of colors so that they will be attracted to go inside. If you are in the NE Kansas area, you may book an appointment with us here.
10) Choose a Dentist Who Is Good With Kids
All your efforts will be useless if your dentist is not kid-friendly. Choose a dentist who is proven and tested to be good in dealing with kids. One good way to know is by reading reviews online or ask your friends on where their kids go to for dental care. If you are in the NE Kansas area, Dr. Vermelle Ghoston has a proven track record with kids. Read the reviews here.
There you have it. These are just some ways to make visit to the dentist fun for the kids. Be creative and trust me, they will thank you later when they grow older.