What You Need to Know About Making Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist a Success!

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When should my kids first visit the dentist and what can I do to help them prepare? I’m partnering with River Park Dental to answer some of your questions about your child’s first trip to the dentist!

This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure here.

I waited, what I thought was, a really long time to take my kids to the dentist. I was dreading it, to be honest. My oldest son has some struggles with anxiety so I put off taking him, afraid that it was going to be a horrible experience. When I finally did take them, my oldest was in Kindergarten and my youngest son was 3.

kid getting teeth cleaned at first visit to the dentist

Thanks to the amazing staff at River Park Dental, our first visit to the dentist was 1000% better than I expected. It was so good, in fact, that my kids would ask when they could go back and when they did have another visit scheduled, my son woke up saying, “I can’t wait to go to the dentist!” Now if that isn’t a testament to the experience River Park Dental provides, I don’t know what is!

pictures of patients at River Park Dental

I want to use this post to answer some common questions about taking your kids to the dentist for the first time. Hopefully with a little preparation you can take your kids to the dentist with confidence! Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, or a dentist, and this advice was written in partnership with River Park Dental, but please consult your own doctor or dentist for advice pertaining to your own child!

When should kids first visit the dentist?

kids watching videos at first dentist visit

Missy, our dental hygienist at River Park Dental, recommends that age 3 is a great age to take your child to the dentist for the first time. Of course if you have concerns, by all means take your child earlier, but age 3 is when kids will start to be a little more open to the experience!

What if my kid freaks out and doesn’t cooperate?

Or am I the only one asking that question? ha! The ladies at River Park Dental have been around the block a few times when it comes to this teeth cleaning thing. In other words, this will not be the first time they’ve experienced a toddler tantrum when trying to stick their fingers in a child’s mouth!

Missy said, “Don’t be disappointed if the first visit doesn’t go as you hope.” “Don’t be frustrated,” she continued, “We don’t think anything about it. We’re not looking at you any different. We just go with it.” Basically, no judgement here. They’ve seen it all before!

What should I expect at my kid’s first dentist appointment?

At River Park Dental, they try to make the first (and every) visit as fun as possible and if the child is not cooperating, they aren’t going to push anything. The main goal is to try to at least get a good visual of what’s going on inside your child’s mouth!

kids picking from the treasure chest at first dentist visit

At River Park Dental, kids can choose a video to watch on the screen overhead. There are a lot of fun books and 2 iPads in the waiting room. At the end of the visit, kids get to pick a prize from the treasure chest! The whole experience is kind of a treat for my kids!

kid at iPad visiting the dentist for the first time

When should a child brush their own teeth?

I talked with Missy about this because, though my pediatrician recommends that I let my 4 year old brush his own teeth, I am still doing it. The dental hygienist sides with me! Missy told me, “Brush your children’s teeth as long as you can.” Baby enamel is thin and prone to cavities. She recommends children age 5 and up can begin brushing their own teeth but that parents should still follow up.

What do I have as proof of this? My 4 year old’s teeth had way less plaque on them than my 7 year old’s. So I’m continuing to brush. 

How do I prepare my child for their first dentist visit?

When you take your child to the dentist for the first time, the hygienist is going to wear gloves and a mask and it can be a little bit scary for kids. One way to prepare them is to read some books about going to the dentist that show a dentist with a mask and using some of the equipment they will see. That way your kids will know what to expect when they get there.

This is a sampling of some of the books that River Park Dental has in their office.

These books give a good overview of what it’s like for kids to go to the dentist for the first time:

going to the dentist book by mercer mayer

Just Going to the Dentist by Mercer Mayer

berenstain bears go to the dentist book for toddlers

The Berenstain Bears Visit The Dentist by Stan & Jan Berenstain

curious george goes to the dentist book for toddlers

Curious George Visits the Dentist by H.A. Rey

There is, of course, a Daniel Tiger episode about his first trip to the dentist! Check out the book adaptation here: Daniel Goes to the Dentist adapted by Alexandra Cassel

These books are geared toward elementary school kids and deal with loose teeth:

Loose tooth book for first readers

Freckleface Strawberry Loose Tooth by Julianne Moore (Step 2)

My wobbly tooth must not ever never fall out book

My Wobbly Tooth Must Not Ever Never Fall Out by Lauren Child

Loose Tooth Book

Loose Tooth by Lola M. Schaefer (I can read book)

These books talk about taking care of your teeth and why kids need to do so:

cutie sue fights the germs book

Cutie Sue Fights the Germs by Kate Melton

no place for sugar bugs book for dental visits

No Place for Sugar Bugs by Rose O. Waderya DMD


Sugarbug Doug by Dr. Ben Magleby (There’s also a Sugarbug Doug coloring book!)

The Tooth Book A guide to Healthy Teeth and Gums by Edward Miller

Does my baby need to go to the dentist?

While it was recommended that age 3 is a great age to take your child to the dentist, there are some cases where River Park Dental can help your infant. River Park Dental performs frenulectomies and frenectomies for infants and children
“Tongued-tied” babies can struggle with bottle or breast feeding. Being tongue tied can also result in a speech impediment when kids get older. River Park Dental can perform tongue and lip tie revisions with a Solea laser right in the office.

What other questions do you have about taking your kids to the dentist?


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kids at the dentist

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6 Easy Tips for a Stress Free Thanksgiving Featuring the Bob Evans Farmhouse Feast

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Make this Thanksgiving the easiest Thanksgiving ever by taking a few short cuts along the way! With the help of the Bob Evans Farmhouse Feast, this Thanksgiving can be stress free and enjoyable!

Thank you to Bob Evans Restaurants for sponsoring this post.

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner is no small task! If you are the one providing a full meal for 10 or more people, it can become overwhelming to figure out just exactly how much food you need, how long it will take to prepare and how to keep it all hot by the time your guests arrive!

Bob Evans Farmhouse Feast

Bob Evans Restaurants recently released the findings of a survey they conducted about Thanksgiving Dinner. Those who have hosted a Thanksgiving dinner reported that they spend 7 hours shopping, cooking and cleaning up during the holiday but only 1.5 hours actually sitting and eating at the table. Two thirds of the survey respondents reported that the idea of hosting a thanksgiving meal “causes me to feel stressed or overwhelmed”.

The Bob Evans Farmhouse Feast Can Help You Have A Stress Free Thanksgiving: 

When Bob Evans Restaurants reached out to partner with me to host a “Stress Free Thanksgiving,” I had only previously hosted Thanksgiving once! I wasn’t exactly sure how stressed I was going to feel when the day arrived. I arranged to pick up the heat and serve meal at 4:30 PM on a Saturday evening and by 6:30 PM my guests were sitting down to a full Thanksgiving spread!

picking up Farmhouse Feast at Bob Evans

Bob Evans Farmhouse Feast in Box

Thanks to the pre-cooked Farmhouse Feast I spent a total of just 1.5 hours of active cooking time. And the bulk of that time was spent standing around talking to our friends as the food baked in the oven!

Everyone at the table raved about the food. The food was delicious! It tasted homemade – maybe even better, to be honest. I have never made stuffing that didn’t come from a box and my own mashed potatoes have never tasted that good! And even though I like to cook, I don’t think I could have matched the taste in my own kitchen!

Friends and Family at Thanksgiving meal

My guests guessed that the meal cost $200-$300 and were amazed to find out the largest Farmhouse Feast only costs $114.99 here in Columbus! The average Thanksgiving meal costs $20-$30/per person so my guests weren’t that far off. We all considered the price of the Farmhouse Feast to be quite the deal, especially if you add in the time saved in preparation. The Farmhouse Feast for 4 starts at just $49.99!

Here are my tips for hosting a Stress Free Thanksgiving featuring the Bob Evans Farmhouse Feast:

1. Set out your serving dishes in advance

Table Set for Thanksgiving Meal

When you bring home your Farmhouse Feast, you will be transferring most of it from the containers it comes in to containers that can be baked in the oven or microwaved. Think ahead before picking up the food to how many dishes you will need and have them ready to go when you get home with the food instead of spending your precious cooking time looking for the appropriate dishes.

2. Read the instructions carefully

Bob Evans Farmhouse Feast Instructions

Your Farmhouse Feast will come with a set of instructions and allergen information. The instructions were very easy to follow and I would check things off as I went. Start with the items that take the longest to cook: the turkey and the ham. Everything is cooked at the same temperature (325 degrees) so I used a the timer on the stove and the timer on my phone to keep track of the cook time of the various side dishes.

3. Employ a combination of oven, stovetop and microwave

thanksgiving turkey from Bob Evans

By using a combination of cooking methods, you can cook more things at once. I had the turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and stuffing in the oven all at the same time while cooking the corn and green beans on the stove top. At Bob Evans’ recommendation, I used the microwave for the gravy, mac and cheese and rolls.

3. Use a mix of disposable tableware items

Thanksgiving food on table

Of course you don’t have to use disposable items, but when it comes to cleaning up, you can spend more time with your family and less time standing over the sink if you substitute even a few disposable items! Consider doing disposable dessert plates and coffee cups or disposable cups for the kids. Adding in a few disposable items will save time and space in your dishwasher.

4. Provide table top entertainment for the kids

thanksgiving place mat

Let’s face it, kids don’t usually stick around the dinner table for as long as the adults. You can increase the time spent with family by using some table top entertainment for the kids. I recommend a coloring sheet placemat and crayons! Or have a game table or craft table in the same room where kids can be entertained nearby when they’ve finished eating.

kids coloring

5. Decorate with reusable decor

letter board that says Happy Thanksgiving

Another way to keep costs and stress levels low is to use multi season decor. Don’t spend a ton of time and money shopping for the perfect Thanksgiving decor. Instead, use things that can be reused no matter what the holiday such as a letter board, string lights and candles. A letter board is perfect because it can be customized for every holiday!

Are you ready to create your own Stress Free Thanksgiving? You can place orders for the Thanksgiving Farmhouse Feast at Bob Evans Restaurants by calling, ordering online or in restaurant at any Bob Evans location now through Thanksgiving. Click here for all the details on the Farmhouse Feast.

Thanksgiving food on a plate

Not up for any of this? Bob Evans Restaurants will be open until 8:00 PM on Thanksgiving Day and offer delicious, holiday-inspired entrees. You can have the full Thanksgiving meal in the restaurant without any of the cooking or the clean up! Find the closest Bob Evans Restaurant.

Thanksgiving Food


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ICYMI: 72 Things to Do Thanksgiving Weekend in Columbus

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Bob Evans Farmhouse Feast





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Mark Your Calendar: Witches Night Out at Leeds Farm!

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I’m partnering with Leeds Farm to tell you about this fun event!

Leeds Farm to host Witches Night Out on October 4, 2018!

Looking for a new adventure for girls’ night out? Then gather up your bewitching friends, hop on your brooms, and fly out to Leeds Farm for a wicked fun evening while supporting a great cause!

Girlfriends-night-out fundraiser to benefit Pink Ribbon Girls!

Leeds Farm is thrilled to announce the fifth annual Leeds Farm Witches Night Out! will be held on Thursday, October 4, 2018 from 6 to 8:30 pm. Leeds Farm is located at 8738 Marysville Road, Ostrander OH 43061, just 15 minutes north of the Columbus Zoo.

The event is girls-night-out at Leeds Farm with 100% of ticket sales benefiting Pink Ribbon Girls. Attendees are
encouraged to wear witch costumes, hats or other bewitching attire. The October 4 event will kick off at 6:00 pm and while the kids are away, the witches can play!

All of Leeds Farm’s fun activities including the Pumpkin Jumps, zip lines, pedal carts, rolling tubes, combine slide, mountain slides, hayrides, Paintball on the Porch, and much more are open to enjoy.

Related: 15 Things to do at Leeds Farm

Event partner A Catered Event will provide themed food and a special witch’s brew. Local DJ Ryan
Keller, owner of AUDIO-PRO Mobile DJ Entertainment, will provide music.

Other event sponsors include Richwood Bank, Memorial Health, Honda Marysville, Performance Delaware, Westport Homes, Black Wing Shooting Center, Alice’s Piece of Cake, Great Photo Booth, and Geotechnical Consultants, Inc.

Throughout the event, attendees collect raffle tokens at each farm activity they visit. Guests then choose to enter their tokens in the drawing for 30 gift baskets, each with a value of approximately $200. There is also one Grand Basket with a $500 value!

Wondering what to wear? Dress up in your favorite witch hat, fun accessory or full costume! This is an outdoor event at a working farm, so dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes.

This year, Leeds Farm is proud to welcome five central Ohio wineries to serve Witches Night Out guests.

Participating wineries serving locally produced wines include Bokes Creek Winery, Buckeye Winery, Camelot Cellars Winery, Soine Vineyards, and Blend of Seven Winery.

Admission tickets include one glass of wine. Additional glasses can be purchased at the event. Unopened bottles of wine can be purchased from the wineries to take home.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at http://www.leedsfarm.com/witchesnightout.php or Richwood Bank offices in Delaware, Marysville, Richwood and Plain City. In the case of inclement weather, the event rain date is Thursday, October 11.

Donations from the four previous Witches Night Out events totaled $58,724.

In 2018, 100% of ticket sales will be donated to Pink Ribbon Girls, a non-profit organization that provides healthy meals for the entire family, housecleaning, and transportation to medical appointments for breast and reproductive cancer patients during treatment. For more info about Pink Ribbon Girls’ services, visit www.PinkRibbonGirls.org.

Christy Leeds, co-owner of Leeds Farm, says, “I’m personally thankful to be able to do my part to support breast cancer patients and their families during treatment. The entire Leeds Farm staff is looking forward to this special girls’ night out for a cause that’s important to everyone.”

Questions can be directed to event coordinator Sherry Fisher at (740) 225-3256 or sherryfisher99@gmail.com.

Want us to mark our calendar for YOUR event? Click here!


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Want to visit Leeds Farm with your family? Check out 16 Things to Do at Leeds Farm!

ICYMI: Central Ohio Fall Farms and Fall Festivals

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