A first doctor or dental visit, the first day of school or any new situation can be scary for children. It often, however, is not the situation itself but not knowing what to expect that causes the fear. Parents can help to prepare children for new experiences in a stress-free way. Today there are so many informative resources available such as videos, the internet and books. Children’s books are wonderful resource that can be picked up and used again and again until a child is fully familiar with the information that it contains and feels prepared for a new situation.
Reading a picture book is an activity which can be done together as a family. Parents can read the story while children follow along with the pictures. Even a very young child can look at the pictures independently. A book allows parents to provide information to their children in a way that can be easily understood. Parents can stop to answer children’s questions and a single page can be read over and over.
For instance, a picture book about going for a check-up can help children feel more comfortable and know exactly what to expect. These types of books help allay any fears that children might have by showing pictures of everything that likely will happen during the visit.
When they are prepared, they are more cooperative and feel more in control.
Books that educate children about how to stay healthy also are important. For instance, a book can show children what can happen to their teeth if they don’t brush and floss regularly. Such books are written in a way so children understand why it is important to take care of their teeth or eat healthy or stay active or whatever the message of the book may be. When children understand the why they are more likely to be proactive.
Being emotionally prepared for any new experience is good for everyone involved. When children know what to expect, everyone is less stressed and adults are more able to offer emotional support to their children. It is a win-win situation.
Dentist Sherri Alpert is the owner of Dental Wellness of Suffern and the author of two children’s books: Cassandra Gets Her Smile Back and Attack of the Sugar Bugs, both available at Amazon.com. Children receive a free copy of either book with their first visit. Dr. Alpert’s practice is located at 2 Executive Blvd, Suite 307, Suffern. For more information, call 918-1801 or visit DentalWellnessOfSufffern.com.