4 Fun & Practical Ways to Help Your Kids Enjoy Braces
If you are like most parents, chances are your kids may need some type of orthodontic treatment over the course of their childhood, tween, or teenage years. Many kids struggle with all types of childhood and teenage angst and the idea of having to get braces can be the social equivalent of complete and utter defeat for them. However, there are ways that you can actually help your kids enjoy braces, rather than look at them with total disdain.
If you find yourself at the point where you have been to your orthodontist and your child is a candidate for braces, there are a few things that you can do to help the process go a whole lot smoother for your child and for yourself!!
1. Customize Your Child’s Braces
Gone are the days when the only real option for braces were the traditional metal ones that resulted in tons of jeering and “brace face” insults. Today, you can help your child feel more at ease about getting braces by allowing them to customize them to match their personality. From gold-colored braces, to ceramic or tooth colored braces, and beyond. There are now so many different styling options available when it comes to braces.
You can take it a step further by helping your child pick out their favorite colors for their rubber bands, as well. Encourage your kids to have them changed out based on the season, or their school colors. Whatever it is that makes them happy. Some orthodontic offices also offer “fashion brackets” instead of traditional ones. These brackets come in different shapes, such as soccer balls, hearts, or stars for example.
When it comes to helping your kids enjoy braces, let them know that they get a decision in the style of their braces. Your child can customize almost the entire process which is a huge self-esteem boost for them. They will feel that their choices matter, and that they are an important part of the decision-making process, rather than feeling like a patient or a victim.
2. Reward Every Trip
Each trip to the orthodontist doesn’t have to feel like a chore for you or a total bore for your child. Make each visit to the office a time to bond with your tween or teen by taking them out to do some of their favorite activities after each visit. If you’re short on time, simply reward them by taking them out to lunch. Make your time spent at the orthodontist an exciting and rewarding experience for your kids and they will feel much better about the process of having and maintaining braces. They may even start to look forward to their next appointment!
3. Find Before and After Photos
If you are having an especially hard time with your child before they even get their braces, know that you are not alone. Thanks to the internet you can find just about anything online and a great way to attempt to get your child on board and feeling better about the process is to search online for their favorite celebrity’s before and after braces images.
Is your daughter obsessed with Selina Gomez? Chances are she had braces.
Show your daughter before and after images of all her favorite people and you could start to see the walls come down quickly! Same goes for the boys. Do some research for popular singers, actors, and sports professionals, and you should be able to find plenty that had braces. As you find celebrities that had great results with braces, remind them of the results they are going to see at the end of their treatment, as well. Now would be a great time to take some before pictures so you both can compare them with their post-braces smile.
4. Create a Special Shopping List
Ensure that you keep a list of all the foods that your child should be avoiding over the course of their orthodontic treatment. You will want to ensure that they are not damaging their braces, and that they are avoiding potentially embarrassing situations, like having food stuck in their brackets and wires at school.
Things like candy, gum, ice, and hard foods like nuts should be avoided. It only takes one bad bite to potentially damage their wires or brackets, so ensure that your child understands what they should be eating and what they shouldn’t.
To help your child enjoy braces and not feel left out because they can’t eat any of their favorite foods, like popcorn and hard-crust pizza, create a special shopping list just for them. This is especially important in the beginning when they are still figuring out what they can and can’t eat. Here’s some fun foods they can still enjoy:
- Mashed potatoes
- Scrambled eggs
- Baked apples
- Cheese cubes
- and many more…
Make it Fun!
As parents, you know how amazing and how challenging the social environment can be for your kids at school, at their activities, and on play dates with friends. Braces do not have to be an impediment to your child’s self-esteem. With a little encouragement and patience, the whole process can be an enjoyable rite of passage for you and your child.