As we end national children dental health month I ask myself what is a successful dental appointment for a child. I was a pediatric dental assistant for years before I became a dental hygienist. I saw temper tantrums, tears, terrorists and some teeth marks too. One of the phrases I found myself recite over and over to disappointed parents was, "don't worry, this is common behavior," when their young child wasn't ready to jump in and love the dentist experience.
So, how to define a successful appointment is through evaluating progress (see more about adopting a growth mindset HERE.) The ultimate goal is to create successful appointments throughout the child's lifetime. A few ways to do this are, one, to start small by keeping detailed notes about the child's behavior so you can praise their improvement. For example, "Jonny, I am so proud of you for letting me polish 10 teeth today, that is 5 more than last time. Good job!" Two, I would recommend that you ask the parent to stay in the waiting room. My experience has been that children behave better when the parents are out of sight. Last but not least, make the parent and child want to come back and see you again by ending on a good note. What I mean by this is offer a little prize to remember you by. Some examples of this are:
-letting them pick something from the treasure chest
-ice cream/taco coupons
-make them a balloon chicken as shown in the video below
My experience with this is that they will love you forever.
What are some of the things that you do to make your child appointments a success?