The Trip to the Dentist: How to Make It Enjoyable for Your Little One
Being a mother is not an easy task. Aside from the difficulties of pregnancy and delivery, you also bear the bigger share of the burden of child-rearing. You breastfeed and you are culturally expected to be with the child.
Because of the time you spend with them, you usually have a significant influence on who the child trusts and tends to go away from. Your behaviors become the easiest to imitate because of your mere availability as a role model.
How you handle the child’s first journey to the dentist is crucial to how they’re going to react to this circumstance when they become older. We present here three tips on how to make a visit to the dentist at clinics like Cape Dentistry West Harwich less worrying for your beloved little one.
Learn to be NOT afraid of the dentist yourself.
The fear of dentists is much more common than you might think. In fact, it is one of the most frequently cited fears among Americans.
But as a parent and role model for your child, there is a need for you to change the way you respond to dentists. Psychology presents numerous way to change fearful reactions. One is systematic desensitization in which the feared stimulus (the dentist, in your case) is going to be presented to you several times, with greater proximity each time. You are taught relaxation techniques in every encounter. While this has been proven effective, this also requires effort and dedication. Remember, therapies work only when the clients cooperate.
Tell the child stories wherein dentists are heroes that help solve problems.
Children are normally interested in narratives. They want to be read bedtime stories and they make up stories while at play. Stories have been found to be effective in helping children form beliefs, perceptions, and expectations. As you know, these are factors that have significant influence on behavior and emotional responses. Someone that is expected to bring pain and suffering elicit fearful responses. The reverse is true for someone who is expected to save the day.
You can take advantage of this knowledge by introducing the dentist to the child. Present the dentist as a protagonist in a make-believe story. This way, the child will already have positive images of dentists by the time that they encounter a real one.
Give them rewards after the visit. And ice cream perhaps?
The behaviorist approach in psychology tells us that the consequences of our behaviors usually determine how likely we are to repeat that behavior in the future. Simply put, a behavior that gets punished is suppressed. A behavior that gets rewarded or reinforced has a greater likelihood of being repeated. Apply these principles and turn the visit to the dentist a rewarding one. Use it as a bonding moment for you. After the encounter, buy your child some treats that matter to them. An ice cream cone works for most.
No matter what strategies you employ, the outcome of them all is still partly determined by the behaviors and responses of the dentist that you visit. The professionals at Emergency Dentists USA are committed to making every encounter as pleasant as possible. You might want to consider them for your child’s first encounter.