Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment: Everything You Need to Know

Your Child's First Dentist Appointment: Everything You Need to Know

Many parents have a lot of questions about their child’s first dentist appointment – everything from when they should schedule that first trip to the dentist to what to expect when they get there. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Here is everything you need to know about your child’s first time to the dentist.

When Should I Take My Child to the Dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) recommends that a baby’s first dentist appointment be within six months of their first tooth erupting or by their first birthday. It is suggested that children begin regular dental check-ups at a young age so that they become comfortable going to the dentist and so that they get into a routine of good oral hygiene.

What Type of Dentist Should I Take My Child To?

For your child’s first dentist appointment, he can be seen either by a regular practicing dentist or by a dentist who specializes in administering care to children known as a pediatric dentist. The main difference between a dentist and a pediatric dentist is that a pediatric dentist has had two years of additional training beyond dental school focused on the specific treatment of children. While either type of dentist can provide oral care to your child, a pediatric dentist’s office is usually specifically decorated and geared toward children which can help create a more comforting atmosphere for them. If your child seems particularly anxious about his first trip to the dentist then taking him to a pediatric dentist may help make the experience easier for him.

What Should I Expect At My Child’s First Dentist Appointment?

Your child’s first time to the dentist will be about building a relationship with your child’s dentist and making a plan to manage your child’s ongoing oral care. There are several things the dentist will go over with you on the first trip to the dentist.

  • How to properly care for your child’s teeth at home
  • The need for fluoride treatments
  • Whether your child has any oral habits he/she should know about, such as thumb-sucking
  • What developments to expect with your child’s teeth over the next six months
  • How to manage teething symptoms
  • How proper nutrition effects your child’s oral care
  • Schedule of routine oral care appointments

Your child’s dentist will do a quick exam of your child’s teeth and gums and a cleaning may be performed, if necessary.

For your baby’s first dentist appointment there will most likely be paperwork that needs to filled out so you should plan to arrive a little early. Also come prepared with all insurance information.

Will the Dentist Want to Take X-Rays At the First Appointment?

Whether or not x-rays are taken during your child’s first trip to the dentist will most likely depend on age. X-rays are usually not taken on a baby’s first dentist appointment, when only one or two baby teeth are present – but should be expected if the child is 5 or 6 at his first time to the dentist. This is the age when x-rays normally begin to be taken since it is when the first adult teeth begin to come in. Taking x-rays of your child’s teeth around this time will be an important tool to allow the dentist to ensure that the adult teeth are coming in properly as well as to aid in assessing overall gum and teeth health.



5 Tips For Getting Kids to Take Their Medicine

5 Tips to Get Kids to Take Their Medicine

            “But it doesn’t taste good!” I stare at my four-year-old son in dismay. He has the flu and I was really hoping that getting him to take the medicine the doctor prescribed him wasn’t going to turn into World War III – I should have known better. It has always been a struggle to get him to take his medicine when he is sick, with his most common complaint being in regards to the bitter taste. Tired of dealing with the battle, I set out to find ways to get him to take his medicine without me always having to go into full mama bear mode. If you’ve found yourself fighting the same battle, here are five tips for getting children to take their medicine with little fuss.

Use a Syringe or Dropper

Most pharmacies provide a syringe with liquid medicine that has been prescribed to a child. Even if your child is old enough to drink the medicine from a dosage cup, try using the syringe instead. Using a syringe will enable you to aim the medicine along the child’s cheek instead of directly on the tongue, helping them to avoid the bitter taste and swallow the medicine easier. Slide the syringe along your child’s cheek and rest it near the back of their cheek, then slowly release the medicine and encourage them to swallow it quickly.

Give Them Some Control

This works especially well with my four year old. I have found that begging and pleading for him to open his mouth and let me put the syringe in only leaves us both feeling frustrated and irritated. Instead of battling it out, I tell him that I know he isn’t a baby anymore and is old enough to take his medicine by himself. I hand him the syringe of medicine and a drink to wash it down with and nine times out of ten he sucks the medicine out of the syringe himself and beams at being praised for being such a big boy.

Chill the Medicine First

Bitter tasting substances can sometimes taste less bitter when served cold, so try refrigerating the medicine before you give it to your child. You can also try giving him a Popsicle or ice cream before it is time to take his medicine so that the cold can numb his taste buds a bit.

See if You Can Have a Fun Flavor Added

Many pharmacies offer an option to add a fun flavor to children’s medicine at an additional cost. For a few extra bucks the bitterness in a medicine can be hidden behind added banana or cherry flavors. The peace of mind of having a child take his medicine without fuss may be worth the extra cost.

Reason With Them

Most children over the age of three have reached the stage of reason – where you can explain to them the cause and effect of an action and they can decide that it is in their best interest to comply. In the case of medicine, try calmly explaining to your child that the medicine is going to make them feel better or make their hurt go away and that is why they need to take it, even though it tastes bad. Many children will respond to this honesty positively and will take the medicine because they understand that doing so will make them feel better.

Spouses First, Parents Second – 5 Ways to Start Putting Your Marriage First

5 Ways to Start Putting Your Marriage FirstBeing parents is hectic. There is homework to check, meals to prepare, laundry to do, school projects to help with, gymnastics and football practice to manage, and very often there are children sleeping in your bed. Our natural inclination as parents is to put our children’s happiness above all else and let our marriage take a backseat as we focus all of our love, attention, and affection on them. But it turns out that doing this may actually be causing them more harm than good. According to David Code, author of To Raise Happy Kids, Put Your Marriage First parents in today’s society can seem more married to their kids than to their spouses, and this isn’t doing anyone any favors. “This creates stressed-out parents who feel disconnected from each other, and demanding and entitled kids who act out,” he says. “Some kids might become overly dependent on parents as a result of all the attention.”

It can feel almost sacrilegious for us to shift our primary focus from our children to our relationship as spouses, but it is actually good for them in the long run. “A strong relationship provides security for your children and demonstrates how a loving, respectful partnership should be,” says Laura Berman, PH.D., author of a couples guide titled The Book of Love. “What could be more important?”

OK, so we have established that your marriage should be priority numero uno, but that’s a lot easier said than done. How do we put our marriage first when we are already so tired and drained from all our responsibilities as parents and working full time jobs? Here are some tips to help get you started.

1. Begin integrating bonding time into your everyday routine. Don’t try to implement large changes such as a date night every week or trying to find a sitter every weekend, as this won’t be sustainable and can lead to even more stress. Instead, concentrate on making small changes in your everyday routine that can lead to more time spent together. For example, begin making it a point to cook dinner together every evening or plan a weekly movie night for the two of you after the kids have gone to bed. Make an effort to bring more couple time into your everyday life and you will begin to feel more connected.

2. Try something new together. Sign up to run a marathon and train for it together, or learn how to cook new recipes together. Find something that peaks both of your interests and try it together. Life with kids can get monotonous, so trying something new together can be a good way to add some new excitement and allow the two of you to reconnect.

3. Be affectionate. Make a point to hug and kiss each other whenever you depart or come back together. Hold hands as you watch TV, or give your spouse a back rub as you lay in bed in the evenings. And don’t be shy with the compliments. If you think your husband looks particularly handsome in that shade of green, tell him so! Showing each other affection is one of the best ways to keep that loving feeling alive.

4. Send each other texts throughout the day. With busy work schedules and our kids’ hectic activities schedules, we can end up spending the majority of our days apart from our spouses. But being busy and in separate places doesn’t mean you can’t stay connected. Make it a point to send your spouse quick texts throughout the day letting him know that you are thinking about him and missing him. They don’t all have to be overly sweet or gooey, it could be a picture of your smile, or a joke you heard that you thought he would find funny. The more you stay connected, the more bonded you will feel.

5. Have daily kid-free conversations. Begin making it a point to have a conversation with your spouse each day that doesn’t involve the kids. It can be as you talk while you prepare dinner together and the kids are playing, or as you get ready for bed after the kids have gone to sleep. Take a few minutes each day to talk to each other about how your own day went, any fears or worry you may each be experiencing, and anything good that happened to you that day. You should make a point to keep talk about the kids out of this conversation and make it all about each other instead.

One of the best gifts parents can give their children is to model for them what a loving, respectful, committed, and happy relationship looks like. Having a happy and healthy marriage provides a happy home life for the entire family and shifting a portion of the focus away from the kids and toward each other helps kids grow up to be more independent and less reliant on their parents. Begin implementing these tips on a daily basis and you will all reap the rewards.


Nannies On Wheels: Would You Be Willing to Hire a Stranger to Drive Your Kids?

Nannies on Wheels: Would You Be Willing to Hire a Stranger to Drive Your Kids?

I recently came across an article about a business that was created by moms for moms to provide driving services to shuttle kids to their various activities to help free up some stress for time crunched working parents. The name of the company is Hop Skip Drive and it was created by three working moms who have eight children between them and realized that a service to provide reliable transportation for kids was truly needed in today’s busy society filled with hectic schedules.

I understand how overwhelming things can get when you work full time and also have to make sure that your children get to karate, gymnastics, dance, football practice, etc on time. I myself have been there and it can really take a toll – but I’m not sure if I would be willing to hire a complete stranger to do the job for me. However, many people do choose to use their service, and I can definitely see the benefits, so let’s take a closer look at what Hop Skip Drive does.

About The Company

Much like the popular ride-sharing company Uber, Hop Skip Drive contracts drivers to use their own vehicles to provide transportation for clients. The major difference, however, between Hop Skip Drive and companies like Uber is that Hop Skip Drive specifically transports children – while other ride-share companies prohibit their drivers from transporting unaccompanied minors. In response to the comparison of Hop Skip Drive to other ride-sharing companies, co-founder Joanna McFarland stated “What we are doing is very different. It is caregivers on wheels. We are not a transportation business.”

Hop Skip Drive advertises that their drivers, referred to as Caredrivers, are required to pass a 15-point certification system before being allowed to drive for them and that they require drivers to have a minimum of five years childcare experience.

How It Works

Scheduling a ride is fairly simple – a customer simply signs up for an account online, makes a payment, and schedules a ride. Once the ride has been scheduled the customer is sent information about the Caredriver that will be picking up their child, including a photo of the driver and their car to help kids recognize the driver when they come to pick them up.

Safety Precautions In Place

In addition to the safety checks done on its drivers, Hop Skip Drive has some methods in place to help keep kids safe. Parents can assign a password to be used by the Caredriver so that the child knows that the driver is who they say they are and there is also an app parents can use to track their child’s ride in real time. Hop Skip Drive also partners with Zendrive to monitor their drivers’ behavior while they are performing rides for them.

Despite having these safety precautions in place, there is always a certain risk to having a stranger drive you around. Just ask Bridget Todd, who claims to have been assaulted by an Uber driver in what she deemed to be a racist attack, or the passengers of Kalamazoo Uber driver Jason Dalton, who picked up fares in between a killing rampage that left six people dead. A simple internet search will net dozens of stories of Uber rides gone wrong, all with drivers who passed Uber’s reportedly stringent background checks. These situations are disturbing in and of themselves, but reimagine them happening with an unaccompanied minor in the car and they become downright terrifying.

When you hire a driver to transport your child you are doing more than just conducting a business transaction – you are placing your faith in that driver to safely transport the most precious cargo you will ever have.

So would you be willing to hire a company like Hop Skip Drive to transport your child? Why or why not?


3 Reasons To Plant a Family Garden This Spring

3 Reasons to Plant a Family Garden This Spring

Spring is finally here and that means sunshine, fresh air, and gardening. Starting a family garden is a great family project that not only encourages spending time outside, but the act of planting and tending to a garden actually has many advantages for children.

Gardening is Educational

Actively participating in the planting and nourishment of a garden teaches kids important life skills. Taking care of a garden is a great way to learn responsibility and can boost their self-confidence as the garden begins to grow and flourish, leaving them beaming with pride at what they have accomplished. Planting a vegetable garden is also a good way to teach children about good nutrition and what an important role it plays in our health and overall well being. Gardening also provides an interactive way to help young children begin to understand the roles of cause and effect, such as without water the plants will die, etc. Gardening also helps kids learn about the environment, how nature works, how weather affects us, and the science of plants.

Gardening From a Young Age Can Encourage a Love of Nature

It today’s technology based world, the amount of time that children spend outdoors is diminishing. Gardening is a fun way to counteract that by getting them interested in a hobby that requires time spent outdoors. A love of gardening can easily flourish into a love of nature that children carry through to adulthood.

Gardening Helps Siblings Learn to Work Together

Siblings don’t always get along and sometimes the constant bickering and squabbling can make it feel like they are always working against each other. Planting a family garden together can get siblings on the same page as they all work together toward one common goal, helping them to better understand teamwork and how good it can feel to accomplish something together.

Ready to start planting? Here’s some tips to get you started:

  • Pick plants that children find interesting such as sunflowers and snapdragons for a flower garden or strawberries and tomatoes for a vegetable garden. This will help get them excited about planting the garden and keep them interested.


  • Encourage the kids to get dirty. Kids love playing in the dirt, so let them! Assign them gardening chores that they will find fun such as digging in the dirt. Let them know that getting dirty is not only OK, it’s encouraged!


  • Do fun activities involving your garden such as making a scarecrow or putting up a birdbath. The garden should be a place the family enjoys spending time so get involved in activities to make it a fun place for everyone.


  • Keep it safe. Be sure to avoid using harmful chemicals and keep all sprays and fertilizers out of reach of children. Select kid friendly tools and don’t let children use any sharp tools. Also be sure to use sunscreen and shade when spending extended time in the sun.


Now ready, set, plant!