Picture this: your phone beeps. It’s a text reminder to book a dentist appointment – but it’s not for you… It’s for your kids (cue dramatic music).
Unless your kids are sent from heaven and love going to the dentist alongside eating broccoli, you’ll see the issue here. This is because most kids don’t like going to the dentist. In fact, most parents don’t like it either! But, unfortunately, just like buying groceries, paying bills and washing the car, it’s something we need to do. And, fortunately, there are some great dentists out there – see this site of a private dentist in Weybridge, for example. So, how can you get your kids to go to the dentist?
Rewards and treats
It’s a fact that children respond well to reward systems. Therefore, offering them a reward or a treat might get them in the dentist’s chair, especially if they’re feeling nervous. For younger children, reward charts and stickers work really well, especially when they have a big, cool reward at the end such as a day trip to somewhere like Legoland. If this is a bit of a stretch, even something smaller like bowling, a trip to the cinema or a picnic in the park can help to motivate them and motivate them to go to their appointment.
As well as loving rewards, kids also tend to enjoy competition – especially with their siblings. Whilst you want to reduce unhealthy rivalry that could lead to feelings of resentment or bitterness, a bit of healthy rivalry to see which sibling behaves better at the dentist could help to see them through their appointment. If they’re both trying to impress you and be the most well behaved, they’ll forget why they’re nervous about going to the dentist to begin with.
A meaningful chat
Kids respond well to one-to-one conversation. It helps them to understand why things are important, and makes them feel appreciated. If your kid is being particularly stubborn about not wanting to go the dentist, sit down with them and try to get to the root of the problem. Dental anxiety is extremely common in kids, and they might act out or misbehave to mask the way they’re feeling. If you sit have a meaningful conversation you’ll be able to uncover this and think of some positive solutions together.
Setting a good example
The way we act as parents massively influences our children’s behaviour, and therefore it’s important to set a good example. If you’re a bit scared of going to the dentist yourself, try not to tell horror stories or visibly squirm when you’re in the chair. If you show your own fear, your child will see this as a natural reaction to the dentist. Likewise, encourage a good oral hygiene at home by implementing an effective tooth brushing routine and make it fun. Your kids will stop seeing the dentist as a thing to fear if they’re confident in their dental hygiene and want the dentist to be impressed with their dazzling teeth.