The kids, of course, do not yet have their own opinion on some serious issues, but he very sensitively catches your attitude to any problem, event, and person. So much of the family depends on how the kid will perceive doctors and treatment.
- If you react painfully to any sneeze, then the child will be scared of viruses and microbes, constantly afraid to get infected and get sick.
- If the child constantly hears conversations about bad state of parents and grandparents, he has a feeling of inevitability of the disease, and as a result – fear of the doctor, drugs and treatment.
- If you consider a doctor an enemy, not an ally, if the doctor does not inspire confidence in you, it is unlikely that the child will like his dentist.
- If you are nervous yourself (for example, when a baby needs to be vaccinated or take blood from a finger), then your condition is immediately transferred to the child. And if once a toddler was painfully made a painful procedure, and he did not forget it, no persuasion and other threats will help.
Prevention of fear
- Experts recommend distracting kids with a bright toy, use ointment-anesthetics to reduce or completely eliminate painful sensations. But children from the age of 1 year must already begin to form a correct idea of profession of the doctor and the need for treatment. For this there are many proven ways:
- The first visit to the dental office is better not to associate with the painful procedures, it is enough to restrict the examination of the oral cavity or make an x-ray.
- Telling stories. Read the stories with similar situations – like stories for doctors, animals doctors. You can see and discuss a funny cartoon “About the hippo, who was afraid of vaccinations” where all the animals who were not afraid of vaccinations played and frolicked, and the hippopotamus was ill and lay in the hospital. This cartoon can be turned into a mini-play, so that in the role of a hippopotamus was a kid.
- Play the hospital game. You can buy a special children’s set of medical instruments and “appoint” a baby doctor, and become a patient yourself. You can treat the toy. For older children you can use syringes with real needles (only under your strict control!). Emphasize that the quality of the treatment depends on the patient’s behavior.
- Get acquainted with the structure of the human body. Now there are a lot of colorfully illustrated encyclopedias designed for the younger preschool age, where the functions of each organ are explained in an accessible language, and there are remarkable anatomical constructors. The study of these visual materials expands the outlook and knowledge of the child about the structure of the body, gives information on how important it is to be healthy and lead a correct lifestyle, to take care of cleanliness and hygiene.
- Draw and “expose” fears. Together with the baby crumble or tear drawn by his “fear”, translate it into something funny, reduce in size (make it insignificant). And then let the kid draw himself fearless. Getting rid of fears takes a certain amount of time. Do not rush things. Your consistency and tact in regard to the child, correct reaction and behavior over time will help the child to be much more relaxed towards doctors and medical procedures. During the injection such tricks help to distract (agree on this with the kid before the clinic, explain that he almost does not feel pain):
- Deep and noisy breathing with the account of inhalations and exhalations (the adult considers);
- Reading aloud favorite poems or a quick repetition of two words in turn (for example, a cat is a dog). The goal is not to get confused, to accomplish the task as best as possible. You cannot persuade a child not to cry. Prohibition of tears can cause the opposite effect. Crying serves as a discharge for the accumulated voltage. Accept the feelings of the child, but at the same time indicate the need for a procedure (“Yes, it’s painful, unpleasant, but very necessary”).
After the procedure, you need:
- To regret, to calm the kid if there is a necessity (tactful contact of mum with the child is very important);
- Praise for showing courage and for trying to cope with their fear;
- Allow a child to splash out anger and resentment by transferring them to an object that “hurt him”, “punish” this object (for example, at home you can break a syringe and throw it into the trash can);
- Encourage the kid with a new toy, book or sweet, having agreed beforehand that this will happen only if he does not interfere with the doctor. But do not indulge if the child fails to comply with the agreement – this is a pedagogical error. The doctor should become for the child a familiar person who can be trusted then the child ceases to be afraid and gives the doctor to do everything in his mouth that is needed. For adults, by the way, this is the same story. As long as the dentist remains a faceless figure there is fear.
Why does the promise “to buy a toy” not always work?
Psychologists share true, inner motivation and an external stimulus. If we say to the child, “Do you want to be healthy” – this relies on the inner, true motivation.A toy is an external stimulus. The child should not have anyone to go to the doctor: neither for my mother, nor for the pope. Although external reinforcement can be used. For example, when it is clear that the child has done a job to overcome his anxiety, he has succeeded – for a small kid this is the achievement. A child’s desire or unwillingness to “open his mouth to a dentist” is associated with such a deep mental mechanism as the ability to endure discomfort. It happens that the mother does not give the child any discomfort from the very birth: he did not have time to think about it, did not have time to want, wait, and then everything is given to him at once. For example, some mothers begin to give the baby a breast before he in any way shows that he wants to eat. The more problems, the more patience is needed.
Accordingly, if by the time of visiting a dentist we have a child who has a very low ability to tolerate, then the treatment is more difficult. After all, the child must be in the armchair for at least 15 minutes to stay, and more or less sit calmly. Motivation helps the child to endure – for the sake of something. Everything depends on the strength of the motive and, depending on this, the child suffers more or less. For example, children who have a long toothache – they already, of course, want help. If the child is not in hysterics, then having heard that this doctor will help him, he will be happy. And you can remind a child: "Do you remember how you had that toothache? To make this no longer exist, you need to go to the examination today. Children have a strong cognitive motivation. You can press the buttons and “correct "chair position afterwards, when we will be treated!”. Children get used to the situation: they touch everything, they watch and observe. Here the saliva is ejected: and the doctor shows a glass of water, as he takes saliva. It is also better for parents to act by satisfying research interests of the child “I’ll buy you a toy if you open your mouth.”
Wishes to the parent before going to the children&’s dentist
It is important that parents themselves trust the doctor. Especially with a small child, up to three years old: if the mother does not “shake” for the child with fear, when he is in the chair, then the baby will feel that the mother is calm. Little children are very attached to the emotions of parents. There are parents who are suspicious of doctors – they check, recheck, they say something bad about the child. The child takes as a basis the parental relation.
Try to bring the child positive emotions associated with a visit to the dentist: in advance play a dentist game – children like that. Let the child himself look at his teeth at home and show them so that he can make sure that there is nothing terrible in examining the teeth (you can use a cotton swab and a regular mirror to play the game). The mirror will be watched by the one to whom the teeth are checked, and checking with a cotton swab leads to the teeth (naturally not touching the teeth, which are painful for the child).
You can paint, make a toothbrush from plasticine with a worm – and pull out the worm together. If the child already has caries, then you’d better tell the tale of the funny monster “caries” that attacked the tooth, this tale can be told, while modeling or drawing. In such games, it is desirable to recreate the entire reception at the dentist – starting with white coats, hats and doctor’s masks. Explain to the child that the doctor helps us get rid of troubles, they give advice, treat, care about our health.
Do not frighten the child with dentists. Phrases such as "do not brush your teeth – I’ll take you to the dentist" will only make it worse – the child and teeth will not be cleaned, and he will never go to the dentist. A child is like a small radio receiver that captures parental excitement very subtly, so he instinctively begins to experience, even without understanding because of what. In case if you behave confidently and calmly, the child will not have unreasonable fears. Remember that any prohibitions and warnings cause a completely opposite effect, and therefore phrases such as “do not be afraid, it will not hurt”;, on the contrary, only frighten the child.
It is desirable that when visiting to a dentist the kid goes there with the member of the family, who the child listens to. It happens that, upon coming to visit, with an adult the child does not even enter the office, and the next time comes with another and has no problems.
Show calmness, your readiness to support the child: “Let’s go to the consultation together. I will be in the office during your conversation with the doctor.” Never humiliate the child at the dentist’s. Do not promise to spank him or put him in a corner if he behaves badly. Threats only add stress, but do not fix the situation.
Allow the doctor to establish contact with your child on their own, gain trust. The doctor will certainly praise the baby, treat him with teeth to a toy man, allow him to inspect the room and study the dental chair, and in a game form will acquaint them with the upcoming manipulations.
Take on the role of an observer. Often when a child resists treatment, you really want to help the doctor, but if you see that your actions do not help, then calmly watch the doctor’s actions and remember that he is a professional.
Recommendations to parents in a situation where the child has a negative attitude towards the doctor
- Adjust the child to the fact that the dentist you are going to, is kind of a fairy hero (read together the tales), he treats not animals only, but also humans.
In no case use words – “do not be afraid, you will not be hurt”, etc. Thus you will only frighten your child.
Avoid words that were spoken earlier when it hurt during treatment. Come up with new words. For example, the last time the teeth were “frozen”, now they will be “watered with water.”
Show the child an example in the office – sit yourself in an armchair and the doctor will examine you, and the baby will be the assistant doctor, and then change places. In doing so, pretend that you get pleasure from it. If the treatment fails – and this may well happen – it is better not to bring the child to hysteria and do not scold him after the visit. Overwrite the next day (be sure to check with the baby – like “you decide when we go to the doctor”). Naturally, find out why he did not want to be treated – the problem must be eliminated. Go to several adaptation visits, during the adaptation your child will play with the dentist in different games, learn to brush his teeth, etc. – he has a trust in the doctor, fear disappears.
Tips for optimizing the approach to the dentist
- Do not schedule a visit to the doctor at a time when the child is usually asleep or tired.
- At the dentist’s the child must come full.
- Take removable shoes with you if the child does not want to wear shoe covers.
- Plan hiking to some interesting and attractive place for the child – a cinema, a zoo – after the visit to the doctor.
- Ask the child if he liked the visit. Ideally he should like it. If not, find out why and use the information received the next time for you visit.
- Be generous with praise. Oral praise is important not only to us with you. It is very effective for children.
- Try to make the first trip of the child to the dentist as interesting and entertaining as possible.