Tag Archive | "toddler fears"

Kids and Dentists – Easing A Toddler’s Fear of The Dentist

Practicing good oral hygiene is the secret to having healthy teeth and gums. One way to achieve that is by having regular dental check-ups. However, kids and dentists do not always see eye to eye. If your toddler is afraid of the dentist, here are some tips to try that can help your child relax.

Start Early

The earlier a toddler visits the dentist, the better. Not only will this help acquaint your toddler with what to expect and improve your child’s comfort with the dentist but this will also prevent cavities and other oral health problems. It is best to start that visit after his first birthday or when the first tooth is visible.

Choose A Good Dentist

Having a good dentist is very important to ensure your toddler has a positive experience during his early years so that he does not develop a lifelong fear of dentists. Find a pediatric dentist (an oral care provider specially trained to handle children) that is friendly, patient, empathetic, engaging and has a good sense of humor.

Prep Your Toddler

Discuss the significance of going to the dentist but try not to reveal too many details. Keep a positive outlook and explain things in a casual manner. If he has questions, answer them straight to the point, but, never use the words “shot”, “hurt” and “painful” as you will only aggravate his fear. Just tell him that you are going to the dentist to count his teeth and check his smile.

Another way you can prepare your child is to read picture books about dentists (try Dora the Explorer’s Show Me Your Smile!: A Visit To The Dentist or Going To The Dentist (Usborne First Experiences) by Anne Civargi). Also, you might want to consider role playing the situation. Pretend that you and your toddler are going to the dentist. Ask your little one to be the dentist and you are his patient. Never bring your child to your own dentist appointment to expose him. Your child’s pediatric dentist’s clinic is different from your dentist’s.

Keep Your Cool

You may be as nervous as your toddler but you should never talk about your fear of the dentist to your little one. Remember, you are your child’s role model and once you show your anxiety, your toddler will probably pick up the feeling. Keep your unpleasant experience to yourself for now.

Time It Right

Schedule your appointment at a time your toddler is in the mood. Most parents go for a morning appointment when children are neither exhausted nor sleepy. Remember, a well-rested and well-fed child is a happy toddler and a happy child means lesser outbursts.

Show Moral Support

On the day of your appointment, stay close to your toddler. Let him sit on your lap on the dental chair. Hold his hand and talk in a low voice and say “It is okay honey. You can do it.”. Distract him by telling stories, asking him to take deep breaths or make him look at the photos on the wall. Once he is done, praise him for a job well done.

In addition, be sure to keep this tip in mind - never bribe your toddler just so he will stop fussing or crying. Doing so will only boost his fear. Plus, giving him a candy as a reward sends the wrong message after the dentist stresses that having strong teeth means avoiding sweets.

Posted in Health, Toddler Dental CareComments (0)

Fear In Toddlers - What Parents Can Do

Toddlers develop some sort of fear at one point or another. This is a totally normal part of childhood. But, parents can help ease fear in toddlers more conveniently with a few easy steps. Here is how to do it.

Helping Toddlers Cope With Fears

Know The Reason

What is your toddler afraid of? Darkness? Monsters? Strangers? Crowded places? Doctors? Spiders? No matter how shallow they may seem, recognizing what your toddler’s fears are is an essential step to helping him overcome them. Maybe he is afraid of the dark because he cannot see anything or he is scared of strangers because he feels overwhelmed with their presence.

Do Not Brush Them Off

Do not just laugh and tell your toddler he is silly. Never downplay your toddler’s fears. Instead, take them seriously. Do not make fun or ignore his fears. Reassure your little one that you understand how he feels and that he can always come to you each time he is scared. Remember, the degree of support you give to your child gives him security that it is okay to be afraid and once he understands that, he can properly deal with his fears.

Explain and Expose

The unknown is the root of fear. Your toddler may be scared of the doctor because of the white coat the doctor is wearing or the long needle the doctor uses when giving him shots. Explain to your toddler that the doctor is making sure he is okay. The doctor only checks him up to make sure he is strong and that by sitting still it will be all over before he knows it.

However, reasoning might not completely erase his fears so demonstration is necessary. Buy a storybook about a doctor so you can read it to him during story time. Or, you can show him a picture of a doctor and a little boy smiling. Pretend play also works. Buy him a doctor play set and take turns being the doctor and patient. Eventually, he will be able to realize that there is nothing he should be afraid of and he might even be excited for his incoming monthly check-up.

Solve The Problem Together

If your toddler is afraid of the dark, go to a store and buy him a nightlight. Let him choose the design that he wants. If your toddler is scared of dogs, show him that you are not afraid of him. Let him watch as you and your house dog play fetch. Create a monster chant together so he can say it each time he feels scared. Show your toddler that you are not afraid of his fears, this encourages him to imitate you which will help him overcome his fears.

Offer A Comfort Object

Giving your toddler your old teddy bear, a blanket you used when you were a baby or a special pillow can help ease his fears. Comfort objects can offer your scared toddler familiarity and reassurance. Let him hold on to it at night, when visiting his doctor or when meeting new people.

Give Praise

Facing fears can be hard work so once you notice your little one is making progress commend him for a job well done or offer him a reward like letting him pick out a new toy or cooking him his favorite food. Your optimism encourages your toddler to strive harder.

Fears come and go but it is important that you help him deal with them so he can function better.

Posted in Parenting, Toddler BehaviourComments (0)

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