Get Oral Care for the Whole Family!
Every parent knows a universal truth: kids may not hear every word you speak, but they watch every move you make.
So you can remind them – as good parents do – about the importance of brushing after meals and snacks. You can introduce them to flossing. And you can admonish them about cutting down on sugary snacks – all in the interest of good oral hygiene.
But if you really want to teach them a lesson they will remember and that will last them a lifetime, schedule your next dental appointment as a family. That’s right: go together, see the dentist one by one and make an afternoon out of your next trip to the dentist.
Nothing will resonate with your children more than seeing you in the dentist’s chair. By setting a good example and modeling good behavior, your words will take on entirely new meaning. It may even render them speechless.
Research Touts the Value of Being a Role Model
Parenthood offers a crash course in child psychology. Still, it always helps to rally the support of experts, especially if you’re about to embark on a new parenting strategy with regard to family dental care. (Put another way, parents can use all the help they can get.)
In this spirit, a landmark paper, “Successful Parenting Skills that Shape Children’s Behaviors,” author William Lopez presents a logical framework for influencing child behavior:
- Clarifying expectations
- Staying calm in the midst of turmoil (in this case, if children point out that a trip to the dentist is not exactly what they had in mind when you suggested a new “family outing”)
- Offering consequences and consistency
- Being a role model
- Praising positive behavior (which the author likens to “nourishment”)
Study Offers Words to Live by for Family Dental Care, Other Issues
As you present the idea of a trip to the dentist, be sure to underscore the idea that you will be doing so together, as a family. You may have to repeat these words; your children may be incredulous at your brainstorm, especially if they’re accustomed to being taken to the dentist by one parent in the course of a busy day.
Despite what your children may say out loud, you’re likely to make a big impression on them, Lopez says:
- “’Do what I say and not what I do’ is a common phrase that is often repeated; however, it only confuses children. Children will not do what the parent says since they will do what the parents have modeled. Children model the behaviors that the parent has presented to them time and time again. The parents’ main goal is to always set a positive example that the children can model.”
Fully Raise the Stakes on Family Dental Care
Setting a good example should be top-of-mind when you arrive at the dentist’s office, too. Let your children see you being led into the office to get your teeth examined and cleaned before they follow suit. Then, when the time is right, ask your dentist to round up your entire family for a question-and-answer session on dental care.
A caring and conscientious family dentist like Dr. Manuel Stefan will make the most of the opportunity, imparting valuable information to your children about how they should care for their teeth. Remember: when it comes to instilling good dental habits, he’s on your side.
Seal your family dental care outing by praising your children’s cooperation – and planting the idea of making it an annual event. A great time to make such an announcement? While you’re enjoying dinner together at your family’s favorite pizza parlor or hamburger joint.
Try to relish the moment, knowing that your role-modeling mission is complete – as long as your children remember to brush their teeth when they get home.