Some kids need to know exactly what to expect when they try something new, otherwise they get extremely anxious. It leads to tears and tantrums. That's my kid. Donato is five-years old...and my husband and I have had to "prepare" him for many experiences before he'd go through with them. For example, he went through a phase when NO ONE could cut his hair. He HATED it. The buzzing of the clippers, the hair falling on this face, the water bottle...ALL of it freaked him out. It took two years of trying (and visiting different places) before he was able to get a proper hair cut.
The next big appointment we needed to conquer was a visit to the dentist for a cleaning. When we took him in for a cleaning six months ago, he started crying and refused to open his mouth. I pleaded with him. I tried bribing him...but NOTHING worked. The staff assured me this happens with some kids and to not push it. We made an appointment to see the dentist again six months later...and my husband and I used that time to get him ready.
We bought him a spin brush (since that's the kind the dentist uses...he'd get used to the sensation of the vibration). We bought him books about visiting the dentist. We started flossing his teeth so he knew what that felt like. We talked about why a dentist is so important. He seemed ready. When I went to pick him up from school to take him to the dentist, he didn't cry. He didn't put up a fight. When we pulled up to the office building, he didn't start protesting. He jumped out of the car and held my hand as we walked in and went up the elevator.
I watched him as we walked through the doors. He seemed fine. I was cautiously optimistic. The hygienist took us back pretty quickly, so he didn't get a chance to change his mind. I sat next to him and held his hand while she talked him through every step of the cleaning. He was very nervous...and whimpered a few times. It became clear he wasn't a fan of having the water squirted in his mouth for rinsing...and he didn't like "Mr. Thirsty." He kept asking if it was almost over. Well...he got through the cleaning. He was proud...and so was I. Then came time for X-RAYS.
He had no idea what to expect because my husband and I didn't do a good job explaining what would happen. Donato started freaking out. The hygienist said she needed to take three quick photos. He just needed to bite down three times. Oh...and I had to step out of the room while they took the pics. He started crying. I managed to calm him down enough to get two out of the three photos taken. Almost perfect.
Overall, I'm thrilled he was able to get through his first cleaning without a meltdown. I took him to the Dollar Tree and let him pick out a toy to "reward" him for his bravery. Now we have six months to get him ready for x-rays. Wish us luck!