Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

Helping Your Child Enjoy Dentist and Doctor Appointments

Some children are fearful or just don’t like the idea of having to go to the doctor or dentist for checkups or treatment. If your little one dreads going to appointments, there are things that you can do to make these appointments more fun for your child. Here are some of the best ways to help your child enjoy doctor and dentist appointments.

Have Play Visits

Having your child go through pretend visits with the doctor or dentist is a great way to calm any worries. You can get toy stethoscopes, dental equipment or other items that will allow to play doctor or dentist and pretend to examine your child. You can also encourage your child to play these pretend roles with siblings or friends.

Start Early in Life

Taking your little one to medical and dental appointments starting at a young age will make integrating these routines into your child’s life easier. Routine dental visits can even start as early as three to six months of age. Taking your child to a pediatrician for standard checkups that don’t involve any shots or other painful medical procedures can also make your son or daughter less afraid. Seeing the doctor and dentist from an early age will make each appointment seem less unusual and feel like it is part of the normal routine of life.

Read Books and Play Games

There are many children’s books and games that have themes related to going to see the doctor or dentist. Your son or daughter can learn more about medical and dental care services by reading books that have pictures and kid-friendly descriptions about each process. Games that let your child play the role of a doctor, dentist or patient can also be played to put your child at greater ease. There are even doctor and dentist computer games online that include fun graphics and music.

Avoid Using Certain Words

Certain words are known to trigger fear responses in children. Words like “shot,” “drill,” “pull” or “cut” could be frightening for your little one and make your child scared to go to the doctor or dentist. Using words like “poke” or “wiggle” to describe certain procedures can help make you child feel more comfortable during the appointment.

The doctor’s or dentist’s office doesn’t have to be a scary place for your child. By putting in the effort to ease your little one’s anxiety, you can make each visit a smoother and more enjoyable process.

Tim Esterdahl

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