If you are a single mum or dad with several children, it can be hard to do a lot of things, including navigating dental appointments. However, with a bit of ingenuity, you can easily get all of your kids to the dentist with a minimum of hassle and annoyance. Try these tips:
1. Look for a dentist who treats kids in a group exam room
Dentists have a range of set-ups in their offices. Some have individual exam rooms for each patient, while others have a large open exam room with several chairs in it. The advantage of this set-up is that multiple patients can be seen at the same time — the hygienists, dental assistants and the dentist simply move from chair to chair.
With this type of set-up, you can schedule all of your kids to be seen at the same time, and you don't have to worry about juggling several kids in the waiting room while they wait for their appointments.
2. Look for a waiting room with distractions
If you cannot schedule the kids all at the same time for any reason, look for a dentist with distractions in the waiting room. Dentists, especially those who cater to kids, have everything, from TVs to climbing walls to video game consoles in the waiting room.
Because these toys are novel, they will keep your kids a bit more patient and well behaved.
3. Bring a mother's helper to the appointment
If you bring multiple kids to the dentist appointment, you have to choose between going in with the kid who is in the exam room or waiting in the lobby to make sure nothing happens. That can be hard to manage, especially if you have a kid who is anxious about seeing the dentist or if you need to talk with the dentist at length about treatment options.
To make it easier, bring a mother's (or father's) helper along with you. A young neighbour, a grandma or even one of your friends can help watch the kids in the waiting room while you talk with the dentist and oversee the appointment.
4. Make it a date
Alternatively, schedule your kids one at a time for the dentist. Leave the remaining kids at home, and plan a small 'date' around the dental appointment. Take your kid to a movie, out shopping or to get frozen yoghurt after the dentist.
This approach takes longer, but it makes it easier to juggle the dental experience, and it also turns going to the dentist into a positive experience for your kid.