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Home » Going to the Doctor & Dentist »

When You're There

Try these helpful tips in the office and after you leave:

Stay calm and positive. Keep any anxieties of your own under control, particularly if your child is acutely ill or injured. Kids take their cues from how their parents react to their illness. "I have observed many parents who unconsciously communicate their own anxieties to children. Sometimes, parents project lots of fear into an already intense situation. Some of this communication is verbal, and some is non-verbal," relates Dr. Benjamin Kligler.

Talk about what you see in the office. Look around, identify and discuss what you see. In many doctors' and dentists' offices you can find 3D models of the body and mouth. Playing with these models can be both educational and soothing, as it decreases the anxiety associated with the visit.

Keep kids close. Hold your young child on your lap for as much of the doctor's exam as possible. Ask your dentist to position you as close to your child as possible. (But if you can, don't let your child hear you make this request.)

Accept your child's feelings. Doctors and dentists expect kids to get upset. So don't be surprised or embarrassed if your child has a crying fit or tantrum. Don't blame or shame your child for feeling this way.

Ask the doctor or dentist to explain what will happen. It helps to ask for an explanation BEFORE a procedure begins, so your child is prepared. In addition, you might ask the doctor or dentist to demonstrate a procedure in advance or to let your child play with safe equipment.

Do something fun when the visit is done. A stop at the petting zoo, a cuddle with a favorite book or a hot cocoa treat can add a happy ending to a trip to the doctor or dentist. If you turn this into a ritual, kids may even look forward to the event - or at least to what comes after.

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