fitting family dental visits into a crazy schedule

Using Role Play To Help Your Child Prepare For Their First Dentist Appointment

by Andre Daniels

Many children suffer from some level of anxiety when it comes time to visit the dentist for the first time. Thankfully, helping to relieve your child's anxiety can be much easier than you think. In fact, dealing with this issue can be downright fun when you choose to use role playing to help your child prepare for their first dentist appointment.

How Role Play Can Help

The reason that many children experience anxiety before their first dentist appointment is because they simply fear what they do not know. Role playing with your child can help to ease this fear by allowing them to better understand what they can expect during their dental visit. For many children, having this information will not only allow them to experience less anxiety but actually look forward to their first dental care experience. Best of all, through the process of role playing with your child, you and your child will be enjoying quality bonding time all while teaching your child valuable information.

How To Get Started

To begin your role playing session with your child, start by setting up a small dental office office in your home. Be sure to include all the major areas that your child will encounter during their visit to the dentist, such as a waiting room and exam chair. While you will not have the exact same equipment as your child's dentist, do your best to improvise. For instance, in the absence of a real exam chair, you can use a recliner.

Once your pretend dental office is set up, ask your child to take on the role of the patient while you act as the dentist. Walk your child through each step of their dentist appointment from the moment they are called from the waiting room right up until the moment when their dental exam is complete.

It is very important that the information you provide your child during this exercise is accurate. If you are not familiar with the process your child's dentist will use, consulting their dentist prior to your role playing session will allow you to provide your child with far more accurate information. This can prevent last-minute anxiety that may result from any deviation in the process on the day of your child's dental appointment.

How To Empower Your Child

Now that you have taught your child exactly what they can expect during their dental visit, the time has come to test your child's knowledge and ultimately empower them to take charge of their dental care. This is done by switching roles with your child and allowing them to take on the role of the dentist.

During this portion of your role playing session, your child will be carefully watching you reactions, so be sure to always embrace the dental care experience, even if your child makes a few mistakes along the way. This fun activity will help you and your child prepare to visit a dentist, such as Larsen-Haslem Dental, for the first time together.