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Animate the Wait – Using TV as a Positive Distraction for Kids

February 1st, 2016

Going to a dental office can seem a little scary for kids, even if you have a playful theme in place. So what else can pediatric dentists do to keep young minds from pondering scrapers and drills? There is the tried and true option of using a television.

Although television is going through quite a shift today, it has stayed relatively the same when it comes to children’s programming.

Be it the colors, characters, or the crazy sounds they make, animated television shows are still a good way to occupy a young patient’s time and mind when they don’t feel like interacting with apps on a touchscreen or playing on a slide.

Data analysis shows that the introduction of distraction conditions was associated with more calm behavior and less fine and gross movement, suggesting significant calming effects associated with the distraction conditions. Data also suggest that positive distraction conditions are significant attention grabbers and could be an important contributor to improving the waiting experience for children in hospitals by improving environmental attractiveness.

– From The Influence of Positive Distractions on Children in Two Clinic Waiting Areas

What are the best options for children’s programming?

If there is a television being used in a pediatric dental office waiting area it should definitely feature some fun, light-hearted, and potentially educational animated programming. Don’t just turn on the local news because that’s not going to keep kids happy. Some good television networks to look into for this are: Boomerang, Cartoon Network, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Universal Kids, and Nick Jr.

These channels have a good variety of animated programming that could keep young patients from getting too worked up about seeing the dentist, especially if visiting for the first time.

If you want to get more specific about what’s being watched, such as dental related episodes of animated shows, it’s as easy as creating a custom playlist by purchasing individual episodes through online stores like iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon Prime. This route might take more time to set up initially, but it will save money down the road.

Using this method, you can make sure the content is always in your control and maybe even teach your young patients about dentistry in a fun way.

These types of shows don’t only have to be restricted to the waiting areas either; they can be used on mounted monitors or tablets for kids to watch while in the dental chair to further keep their mind off of things.

So if you or a pediatric dental office you know isn’t doing it already, consider some animated shows or bring it up in conversation during your next visit. It’s an investment that can improve the experience of existing patients and be an incentive for new ones.

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