Preparing Your Child for Their First Family Dentist Visit

baby teeth

It is very important to start teaching your children good oral health habits early on. It is also important to teach them the importance of brushing and flossing, and you should take the to their first dentist appointment around the age of three. If you need to find a facility who specializes family dentistry in Richmond VA or surrounding areas, there are a few places that you can look.

Internet Search: The internet is one of the most efficient ways to find a good dentist for your child. There are several sites where you can enter your zip code and how far you are willing to travel, and several results will show up. Many of these sites will also give you references for each of the listings that they provide.

Friend or Family Member Referral: If you have a friend or family member with children, you should ask them who they take their child to. If they are happy with the dentist, chances are that you will be as well.

Insurance Company: You can contact your insurance company for a list of dental providers who accept your insurance. After you have a few names, you can do some research on their credentials.

 If your child is like most, they will be apprehensive about seeing the dentist for the first time. To make the visit easier on your child and yourself, there are a few things that you can do to prepare.


Take Your Child to a Pediatric Dentist

It is a good idea to take your child to a dentist who specializes in children. The waiting room in a typical pediatric dentist’s office is very child friendly, and the exam rooms are as well. Also, pediatric dentists have techniques that they use to calm your children down.

kids readingRead Books

There are a variety of children’s books that you can read to your child to prepare them for their first visit to the dentist. Most of these books are about the main character’s first visit to the dentist. When you read the book to your child, they will have a better understanding of what is going to happen during the visit. You can find these books in your local library, your local bookstore, or online.


Schedule the Appointment at the Right Time

The time that you schedule your child’s first appointment has a great deal to do with how their first visit goes. It is best to schedule the appointment after your child has had lunch and a nap. If you go in for the appointment and your child is tired, they will be very cranky for their appointment.


Avoid Saying the Word “Hurt”

When you are explaining your child’s first visit to the dentist, you should avoid using the word “hurt.” Even if you say that the appointment won’t hurt, you child will only hear the word “hurt.” If your child asks if the appointment will hurt, you can tell them no, just don’t mention the word.


Take a Tour

If possible, you should set up a tour of the dentist’s office. You can let your child see the waiting room and the exam room. If there is a hygienist available, they can show your child the various tools that the dentist will use, and explain what each one does. If your child knows what to expect, it will help them feel less scared and anxious.


Give Them Some Control

If you are having trouble getting your child in the car for their appointment, you should give them some control. Let them choose the toy that they are going to bring to the appointment or the outfit that they are going to wear. When they feel that they have some sort of control, they may feel better about their first visit.


Watch What Older Siblings Say

It is common knowledge that older siblings enjoy teasing younger siblings. If your older children have been to the dentist, it is important that they don’t tease your younger child by trying to scare them about the visit. Explain to your older children that they were scared before their first visit to the dentist also, and they should be there to make them feel better.

Your child’s first appointment should be a simple one. Often times, the dentist will count your child’s teeth, and use a dental pick to check for cavities. In order to get the most out of your child’s first appointment, you should properly prepare them. Being prepared will make the visit much easier on you and your child.

Finding a Safe Day Care Center for Your Child

kids and safetyMany working parents today entrust the care of their young children to day care facilities. The quality of care a child receives in a child care center depends a great deal on the particular center parents choose. Knowing what to look for in a day care center can help parents make wise choices that will benefit their kids. A facility with the following features is more likely to be a safe and reliable environment.

State License

A reputable facility will be licensed by the state for the services it provides. Before a center can obtain state licensing, it must meet government standards for health and safety. NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) accreditation is a plus as it signifies the center’s standards are even higher for quality child care.

Experienced personnel, a safe learning environment, and a philosophy that promotes a child’s growth and development are common attributes that quality, accredited day cares share. Such attributes give them an edge over their competitors in providing quality care. Accreditation alone cannot guarantee the safety and welfare of children receiving day care services. It does, however, provide parents with greater confidence in the facility the choose to care for their children.

Safe Environment

Before selecting a child care center, parent should tour the facility personally to check out the environment for cleanliness, child safety, and security. At the same time, parents can observe caregivers in action to see how they interact with the children in their care.

Parents should note if the facility’s resources (including books, toys, tricycles, playground equipment, etc.) are age-appropriate and well-maintained. Small toys in the hands of young children can be dangerous if swallowed. Similarly, old or worn playground equipment increases the risk of accidents. For example, Creative World School Three Oaks in Estero, FL stocks each classroom with only safe, age-appropriate furniture, tools, and toys.

Child safety should be a priority when selecting a day care. A facility with gated stairways, window guards on upper floor windows, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, covers on electrical plugs, and an emergency exit plan offers greater security for caregivers and children. The center should follow strict security measures for coming and going so children cannot wander off on their own. There should also be a system for monitoring adult visitors to protect children from abduction or harm.

Stimulating Atmosphere

Children will be happier in a day care that provides opportunities for learning. A stimulating environment will keep children busy and challenged as they develop new talents and skills. Parents should inquire if the center offers such activities as reading, singing, dancing, arts and crafts, and group games, as these activities contribute to a child’s development. An environment filled with positive interaction between teachers and children is more conducive to learning.

Close Supervision

A day care with ample staff and experienced caregivers is more capable of providing children with the supervision they need. Ideally, the child-staff ratio of a facility offering infant care should be at least 3:1, or in other words, three infants per caregiver. Centers caring for 2-year olds should have a child-staff ratio of 4:1, while the child-staff ratio for the care of 3-year olds can be as high as 7:1.

Qualified Personnel

Day care staff and caregivers should be well trained for their profession. Caregivers with child development skills or a degree in early learning education will be better qualified to provide quality child care services.

High Cleanliness Standard

A well-run child care facility will uphold a high standard of cleanliness to promote good health among children and staff. Caregivers and children should wash their hands after outdoor play or using the restroom and before meals. The kitchen should be kept clean and tidy at all times to prevent bugs. Bathrooms and common play areas should also be cleaned periodically to avoid the spread of germs. Children who are sick with fever, infections, or diarrhea should not be allowed to attend the day care until they are well and immunizations should be kept up to date.

Although no day care center can guarantee the health and safety of their children, a good one will maintain a high health standard to reduce the risk of sickness and injury. Choosing a facility with strict health rules gives parents greater assurance in the quality of their children’s care.

By taking the time to research their options and visit day cares in their area, parents are more likely to find a facility where their children will be happy, healthy, and well cared-for for the duration of their stay.