Another easy but effective strategy is deep breathing exercises for kids have shown significant benefits in reducing anxiety and so many other amazing benefits on regulating. Teaching your child simple breathing techniques, such as belly breathing or square breathing, to promote relaxation before and during dental appointments. This can be very helpful if a child deregulates and needs to ground themselves during an emotionally difficult experience. Similarly, we often use Guided imagery and visualization techniques for kids as simple techniques that involve creating positive mental images to distract and comfort children during dental visits. As Dr. Adi always says: “it’s show time!”
A technique that Dr. Adi uses for herself and her own kids during stressful experiences is mindfulness practices, including mindfulness meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction. There are many kid friendly apps that you can download to help guide you and your child through very effective mindful meditations to ground you and find your zen. When you as a parent participate in your child’s process you are also being a positive influence and supporting their ability to overcome their fears.
Parental influence plays a vital role in managing a child’s dental anxiety. Scientific literature emphasizes the significance of providing emotional support, reassurance, and positive reinforcement. Positive parenting techniques and reminding and highlighting all your child strengths (rather than coming down on them for what they did not do well or did not do enough of) can facilitate trust and a positive doctor-patient-parent triad.
And lastly, when you find the right dental home, ask your dentist for the opportunity for pre-visit familiarization and desensitization. We call this a “playdate” where the child can come visit the office just to see the environment, familiarizing the child with the dental environment before their visit can reduce anxiety levels. Arrange pre-visit tours, use dental-themed books or videos, or engage in role-playing activities to desensitize them to dental procedures. Regardless of the approaches, addressing your child’s dental anxiety using natural remedies can be a holistic and gentle approach and we are here to be your partners in a natural way to manage your child’s big feelings!