Going to the dentist is something a lot of people do — in fact, about 127.6 million U.S. adults went to the dentist in 2017 alone. And while going to the dentist is important for your health, it can envoke anxiety, especially in children. But it’s important for children to go to the dentist to ensure their teeth are in good health as they grow. So how can you keep your children calm when it’s time to go to the dentist? Here are a few tips that may help.

Be Open With Communication

The last thing you want to do is lie to your child about them having to go to the dentist. While it may seem easier to trick them into going, this is going to do more harm than good. Instead, it’s important to be open and honest. You should tell your child ahead of time to give them time to prepare for the visit. Allow them to express their concerns and fears and validate their feelings. But during this communication, make sure to explain the importance of the dentist and answer any questions they have. You should explain that the dentist is friendly, not trying to hurt them, and just wants to help keep them healthy. Additionally, you may want to tell the dentist about your child’s fear ahead of time so they can prepare as well.

Keep Them Distracted

Dentists usually do a great job of talking to their young patients and keeping them distracted during their visit. Fortunately, most parents are allowed in the room with their children. It’s a good idea for parents to work with the dental staff to keep their kids distracted. If talking doesn’t do the trick, consider giving your child a phone or iPad to play with during their visit. With YouTube videos reaching more teens and young adults than cable networks, there are plenty of shows your child can watch to keep them occupied while the dentist works. They can also play games or if they want to just sit there, consider reading them their favorite book.

Bring Your Child to Your Dental Appointments

As a parent, you should always strive to set a good example for your children. And one way to do this is to bring your kid with you to your dentist appointment. While you may want to keep them away if you’re going to be one of the five million Americans who get their wisdom teeth out every year, there is no harm in bringing them along for a cleaning. They can meet the dentist, see what happens, and calm their nerves. Watching you get your teeth cleaned can help them be prepared for their own cleaning and will allow them to see that there is nothing they should be scared about.

Being nervous about going to the dentist is completely normal. But hopefully, with the help of these few tips, you can help your child remain calm and ease their dental anxiety.