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.



20 Things Your Child Should Already Know Before Entering Kindergarten

20 Ways To Prepare Your Child To KindergartenAs hard as it for me to believe, my youngest will be heading off to Kindergarten this fall. I already know from going through it with my daughter that the Kindergarten program of today is a far cry from what it was back when I was in school, when we only attended for half a day and the curriculum consisted of coloring and finger-painting. The expectation for learning in kindergarten today is much higher, and the greater Kindergarten curriculum means that it is more important than ever for parents to work to actively prepare their child to enter Kindergarten. If you are unsure how to prepare your child for Kindergarten, here is a list of 20 of the basic skills that most Kindergarten programs expect children to already know upon entrance to the program.

  • Knows the letters of the alphabet
  • Knows most of the sounds of the letters
  • Associates sounds with words they know
  • Is able to grip a pencil, crayon, or marker (with thumb and forefinger supporting the tip)
  • Is able to use scissors, glue, paint, and other art materials with ease
  • Is able to write their first name using upper and lowercase letters, such as “Michael”
  • Knows how to count to 20 or higher
  • Is able to name and recognize the numbers 1-10, even in random order
  • Knows all the basic colors and shapes
  • Speaks using complete sentences
  • Is able to identify rhyming words
  • Is able to recognize common sight words
  • Knows his full name, address, phone number, and birthday
  • Is able to manage bathroom needs on his own
  • Is able to dress himself
  • Can follow directions the first time they are given
  • Is able to clean up after himself
  • Is able to listen to an entire story without interrupting
  • Is able to sit still and pay attention
  • Knows to raise his hand or wait his turn to speak

You can print a copy of this list here.

Sight Words

Most schools are teaching children to recognize words by sight now, rather than trying to sound them out. Here is a list of sight words that Kindergartners are expected to learn in order to be reading ready:

I     to    a    the   little   have   is   we   my   like   he   for   me   with   she   see   look   they   you   of   are   do   that   one   three   five   two   four   here   go   yellow   blue   green   red   purple   brown   orange   black   what   said   was   where   come

You can download printable flashcards of these words here.

You can find more useful Kindergarten flashcards at Mr. Printables.

Fun Websites For Learning

There are several fun websites that offer interactive learning games by grade level for free. Here are a few your child will love: – This site offers many fun games in many different skill sets including letters and sounds, numbers, puzzles, and art. Alphabet Bingo is especially fun! – Starfall offers fun games and songs to help young kids learn letter sounds and begin to read. – Fun Brain Jr features interactive games that promote learning for children ages 2 – 6. – There is lots of fun to be had learning letters and their sounds while playing games with some of your favorite PBS characters. Join Super Why! on a reading adventure or help organize letters to make words with that lovable oversized dog Clifford.

Don’t panic if your child hasn’t mastered everything on this list yet. There are still several months to go before Kindergarten starts in the fall. Spend the summer practicing these concepts with your child to help ensure a smooth transition to Kindergarten. Happy learning!



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.

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!