Articles on child

Problem Child or Problem Parent?

Dr. Milan Balakrishnan, Psychiatrist
I strongly believe that a problematic child is a result of a number of factors, the most important of which is the parenting. Effective parenting is the best way to solve these problems.To begin with, let me introduce some of the common behavioural problems that children have and how you as parents can deal with them.It takes time for children to learn how to behave properly. With help and encouragement from parents and teachers, most of them will learn quickly. All children will sometimes disobey adults. Occasionally, a child will have a temper tantrum, or an outburst of aggressive or destructive behaviour, but this is nothing to worry about. He may argue fight, hold his breath, bawl and threaten you as long it is occasional it does not create a problem. You just need to leave him alone and give him time to recover.Behavioural problems – the signsBehavioural problems can occur in children of all ages. Very often they start in early life. Toddlers and young children may refuse to do as they are asked by adults, in spite of being asked many times. They can be rude, swear and have tantrums. Hitting and kicking of other people is common.So is breaking or spoiling things that matter to others.Some children have serious behavioural problems. The signs of this to look out for are:If the child continues to behave badly for several months or longer, is repeatedly being disobedient, cheeky and aggressiveIf their behaviour is out of the ordinary, and seriously breaks the rules accepted in their family and community, this is much more than ordinary childish mischief or adolescent rebelliousness. This sort of behaviour can affect a child’s development, and can interfere with their ability to lead a normal life. When behaviour is this much of a problem, it is called a conduct disorder.What does this mean?Children with a conduct disorder may get involved in more violent physical fights, and may steal or lie, without any sign of remorse or guilt when they are found out.They refuse to follow rules and may start to break the law. They may start to stay out late at night and create trouble in school during the day.Teenagers with conduct disorder may also take risks with their health and safety by taking illegal drugs or having unprotected sexual intercourse. They experiment with alcohol, cannabis and inhalantsWhat effect can this have?This kind of behaviour puts a huge strain on the family and makes you as parents feel very upset and sometimes even guilty. Children who behave like this will often find it difficult to make friends. Even though they might be quite bright, they don’t do well at school and are often near the bottom of the class.On the inside, the young person may be feeling that they are worthless and that they just can’t do anything right. It is common for them to blame others for their difficulties if they do not know how to change for the better.What causes oppositional defiant disorder/conduct disorder?A child is more likely to develop an oppositional defiant disorder/conduct disorder if they:have a difficult temperament;have learning or reading difficulties – these make it difficult for them to understand and take part in lessons. It is then easy for them to get bored, feel stupid and misbehave;are depressed;have been bullied or abused;are ‘hyperactive’ – this causes difficulties with self-control, paying attention and following rules.Parents themselves can sometimes unknowingly make things worse by giving too little attention to good behaviour, always being too quick to criticise, or by being too flexible about the rules and not supervising their children adequately. This often happens if one of the  parents especially the mother is depressed, exhausted or overwhelmed. Parents not getting along with each other and domestic violence can add to this.Giving too little attention to good behaviour:As a parent, it can be easy to ignore your child when they are being good, and only pay attention to them when they are behaving badly. Over time, the child learns that they only get attention when they are breaking rules. Most children, including teenagers, need a lot of attention from their parents, and will do whatever it takes to get it.Perhaps surprisingly, they seem to prefer angry or critical attention to being ignored. It’s easy to see how, over time, a ‘vicious cycle’ is set up.Being too flexible about the rules:Children need to learn that rules are important and that ‘no’ means ‘no’. Keeping this up is hard work for parents. It can be tempting to give in ‘for a quiet life’. The trouble is that this teaches the child to push the limits until they get what they want. Teenagers need to know that their parents care about them. They must also understand that rules are needed to protect their safety and that they must learn to live within these rules.What can you as parents do?Treat children as young adults. Children go through the same emotional issues that adults do only their coping is limited making it difficult for them to handle it in a mature manner and with all that pent up energy it manifests in physical and behavioural waysParents can do a lot. It helps if discipline is fair and consistent, and it is crucial for both parents to agree on how to handle their child’s behaviour (Read article on good parenting All young people need praise and rewards when they improve their behaviour. This can be hard. Remember to praise even the small, everyday things, and let them know that you love and appreciate them.It is worth asking the school about whether they are also worried about your child’s behaviour. It is helpful if parents and teachers can work together. Extra teaching may sometimes be  necessary.If serious problems continue for more than 3 months, its best to seek professional help from a psychiatrist or a psychologist dealing with children’s issues.Leave your comments on this article. Criticism and brick-bats are also welcome.

Nurturing Young Minds - The First Five Years of Child Development!

Dr. Sulata Shenoy, Psychiatrist
It is universally acknowledged that the first five years of life are probably the most crucial in an individual’s development. There is no other time in human life when so much is learned in so brief a period.  In our short – term concern for preparing the child adequately for formal academics, we sometimes tend to neglect the true nurturing of their minds.What do we mean by mental stimulation? What are the intellectual needs of the young child? To put it succinctly, it consists of giving children certain opportunities, which facilitate them to:make sense of the environment and adapt to its changing requirementshave as many experiences involving the senses communicate and express themselves  explore and experimentsolve problemscreateHOW DO CHILDREN LEARN? Anyone who has ever spent time with young children knows how strong their impulse is to see, hear, touch, taste and smell everything they encounter. This behavior illustrates a fundamental fact of early childhood experience. Young children learn best when they are actively involved, when they can handle materials and try things out for themselves.Early learning must, therefore be based on sensory experiences. Play is an indispensable avenue for learning.  The crucial value of play in the development of children’s thinking is yet to be fully appreciated by many of us.  Adults who have watched young children at play know the intensity and seriousness they often bringing to it. Play clarifies concepts and gives children opportunities to explore, to imagine and to translate experience into something meaningful to them. Play is the natural and most effective means through which a young child learns.Activity and play by themselves are not enough to enhance a child’s learning. Children need asocial environment with peers and adults to help them interpret or clarify their experiences and to relate new learning to their previous experiences and to assimilate new learning to their existing repertoire of knowledge. This type of social interaction is crucial. As a parent or teacher, how do you enhance a child’s learning ability?  Evidence from recent research suggests that the kind of dialogue or interaction which seems to help the child most, is one in which a caring adult engages with the child, enters the child’s psychological space, listens to the child, makes appropriate comments and helps clarify concepts.

Is Your Child Sleeping Well?

Dr. K R Bharath Kumar Reddy, Pulmonologist
Sleep is an important fundamental need of every child for both mental and physical well being. We underestimate the importance of sleep, which is shown to influence the child's growth, immunity, memory and development. The amount of sleep required varies according to the age of a child.A new born baby requires around 16 to 18 hours of sleep.A pre-school toddler may need around 12 hours of sleep including both night and day time sleep.A school going child, requires around 10 hours of sleep at night.Teenagers are recommended sleep of 9 hours but this obviously never happens.Adult requirement is nearly 7 to 8 hours.But it is important to note, that it is not the quantity or duration of sleep that is important for good health, but the quality of sleep. So we need to always question whether a child is actually sleeping well, even though he/she sleeps for long hours.When do you start suspecting a sleep problem?Nearly 25-30% of children are known to suffer from sleep problems as per international data. Adults when sleep deprived are sleepy during the day, but this is not so with children. They can present with varied symptoms such as:Excessive sleeping during the dayMoodiness and irritabilityTemper tantrumsEmotional surgesHyperactive behaviourGrogginess when they wake up in the morningReluctance to get out of bed in the morning or difficult to awakenNot achieving bladder control at nightExcessive movement of legs during sleepSo in case your child has any of the above symptoms, it is important to consider the possibility of a sleep problem and consult your doctor for the same.

Is Your Child Aggressive?

Dr. Yesheswini Kamaraju, Psychiatrist
Have you ever wondered why your child comes back from school in a bad mood ?Children can go through multiple emotions through the day, which they may or may not articulate. Especially young children may have difficulty describing their negative experiences at school or with friends. As children grow older, their speech and language skills develop, which helps them to express their experiences and emotions better.Below are some pointers in identifying behavioral changes in children:Does the child scream/shout while going or coming back from school?Is the child restless or showing increased irritability?Is the child reluctant to do any academic work?Child exhibits intense anger and aggression when forced to complete academic workIn order to understand the behavioral changes, look out for changes in routines such as:Sleep - Does the child feel rested with adequate hours of sleepAppetite - Is the child eating well or skipping meals during the daySchool - Parent needs to get a feedback from school regarding any behavioral changesLearning - Identify if the child has any academic issues (difficulty to memorize, spelling, math or writing issues)Activity - Child has difficulty in sitting for a long time and completing tasksParental TipsDon't repeatedly question or nag the child about how the day went, if the child is irritableListen to the child about his/her difficulties regarding learning, friends or any other specific issues, that the child is sharingLet the child relax and have play time before initiating academic workTuitions not to be scheduled immediately after the child gets back from schoolPhysical punishment should not be used to manage the child's behaviorIt is important for parents to explore child's friends and identify if there are any peer related issues, such as bullying at school premises or school bus. Any academic problems such as learning issues need to be identified and addressed. Parent management at home needs to be consistent to address behavioral issues in children.

Is Your Child Growing Normally?

Dr. Uppal Saurabh, Endocrinologist
A parent's frequent question in my Growth clinic is,"Doctor, is my child growing up all right?" While this question has numerous answers depending on the child in question, there are certain basic facts every parent must know about growth.Let's discuss the first part of the growth seriesGrowth is the miracle of childhood.How a little bundle of joy at birth transitions and transforms into an adult human is truly a remarkable feat of nature. Growth is universalEvery child grows. And hence we tend to take it for granted, until something goes wrong and the child stops growing well.But do you really need to wait before your child comes up with a serious growth problem?The answer is NO...Can you pick up a problem before it becomes severe?The answer is YES..Can you monitor the child's growth yourself?The answer is YES. What is growth?Growth means increase in height and weight of the childWhy do you need to look at your child's growth carefully?To put it in simple words, growth is the sum total of all the body processes. If growth is alright, it means most of the body processes are going well so you can stop worrying about your kiddo’s healthAs a law of nature, a well growing child is a healthy child What does good growth tell us?1.  Nutrition intake is good2.  All hormones are fine3.  Metabolism is co-ordinated4   Illnesses arent ‘consuming away’ the child.5.  Child is in psychosocial well being (happy kids grow better)A child who is not growing well has a deficiency or a disorder. Height is nature’s early warning sign, a VISUAL ALARM for parents and physicians not increasing in height could indicate certain invisible problems are going on inside the child’s body.So how can  you know that your child is growing normally?Your child is growing normally if:He/she  is outgrowing clothes every yearThe shoe size  increasing every yearHe/she is  not among the 3 shortest children in classHe/she  is growing atleast 5 cm per year (after 5 years of age)He/she is not much leaner or chubbier than classmatesIf the answer to any of these questions is NO, this child needs to be looked at carefully. The growth parameters need to be measured and marked and followed up regularly.I must stress here that every child must have his own growth chart. It's a paper which has markings of ideal height and weight at all ages. Each visit to a paediatrician must have a recording of height and weight done on the growth chart. 

Picking the Perfect Nanny for Your Child

Dr. Rahul Varma, Pediatrician
Finding a good nanny is very hard in real life, here are some key points that you should keep in mind when getting started with your nanny search. Make a list Start off by putting together a list of the qualities that are important to you. For example, do you want your nanny to be well versed in your mother tongue, full time/part time or a good cook? This will help you weed out the not-so-suitable from the suitable candidates.Do your research Spread the word among your friends and family that you are looking for a nanny. Hiring a candidate who is referred through a known source is always better. Contact nanny agencies only after thoroughly checking up on them and asking for references on social media sites. Interview Make a list of all the questions you want to ask your nanny. For instance, what would you do if my child is unable to sleep? or what would you do if my child refuses to eat his lunch? This person is going to be spending a lot of time with your child, so if you’re unhappy with their appearance, mannerisms or anything else, move on. ObserveAllow the nanny to interact with your child. Observe without interfering, so that you can assess whether the nanny and the child are able to bond and whether the nanny’s skills are up to the mark. Remember, your nanny will be responsible for playing a big role in shaping your child’s behavior, education, and cultural development. Do not compromise, but rather, take your time looking for the right person. Be patient, that one perfect nanny is definitely out there! 

Am I Parenting Right? Am I Parenting Wrong? 5 Lies Parents Sometimes Tell Themselves

Dr. Darpan Kaur, Psychiatrist
Myth 1: Parenting requires no skills!  Everyone does parenting the  right way all the time!Reality 1 : Parenting is a complex dynamic process requiring  constant hard work, skills and improvisation in today's challenging and advancing world. Parenting definitely is an anthropological evolutionary phenomena which has evolved around the ages! Of course, there is an instinctual biological phenomena in child rearing, yet social and individual factors play a holistic overlay. Every parent wants to be the best parent to his or her child and puts in his or her best shot . Yet, in the complex world we live in, struggling with jobs, finances, stress, etc parents can also make some mistakes in parenting unknowingly !  Parents may sometimes unknowingly displace their own stress on the child by getting angry, not being emotionally responsive, being hostile to the child, etc. Many parents struggle to strike the right balance in their personal and professional lives while parenting effectively. Everyone tries their best to do it right, however sometimes parenting can go wrong as well! Myth 2: Parenting the child is a Mom's job Always !Reality 2: These are common expectations in a traditional society where the mother cares and rears the young ones and does the household chores and the expected role of the father is on earning money and providing basic necessities such as food, clothing, shelter, etc for the family. However, in today's modern times when both the father and the mother may need to work and earn money, it is very vital that fathers take on an equally important role in parenting and child rearing. Myth 3: I send my child to the best costliest school so  I am the best  parent! Do I need to do anything more?Reality 3:  A mentality which some parents have is to expect that sending a child to the costliest available school is equivalent to being the best parent! They do not want to do anything more than that and according to their mentality they feel that as they are paying huge fees hence its only the school's job to cater for the development of the child. Some of these parents in this process may forget their own role of  providing values, teaching concepts of good and bad, disciplining, etc unknowingly! Its certainly good that you are able to provide for good quality schooling for your child . However, kindly do not forget your own duties in terms of spending quality time with your child, enriching your emotional bond with your children, caring and loving them irrespective of whichever type of school you send your child to!Myth 4 : Good parenting means buying lots of costly gadgets, clothes, gifts, etc for your children! Reality4:    A common mistake is to substitute the lack of time spent with the child with costly, expensive gadgets and gifts for the child to make up. Your child needs you and your love more than anything in the world! Not your money!Myth 5 : Parents are always right! Child is always wrong! I am the parent! I know whats best for my child always all the time ! Reality 5: Certain parents can have some rigid ideas such as that only they are right! Others are wrong when it comes in terms of their child! They also think that whatever decisions they make are the best decisions all the time across all stages of development for the child. There are different stages of physical, social, cognitive, emotional development in a child across different periods of infant, toddler, preschooler, school going, adolescent, etc. As the child start growing towards adolescent and then subsequently towards adulthood, parents need to introduce concepts of autonomy, collaborative decision, alternate thinking pathways, critical thinking, etc and show respect towards the child inputs, intelligence , emotions, etc and involve children and adolescents by seeking their thoughts and inputs. You might be in for a big surprise to know how much your teenager knows as well on these worldly matters! Certain matters like choice of higher education and  career decision may need a collaborative decision making. A parent deciding a career for  a child assuming the parent's view is supreme  may lead to problems in the child  especially if the child felt that he or she was  not willing for that career right from the beginning for that!

5 Skills Your Child Must Know at 5

Dr. Rahul Varma, Pediatrician
Today, the world has become very competitive and everyone wants their kids to excel in just about all competitions. However, in this race many a times as a parent we forget to keep a tab on the developmental milestones of our child.There are yearly milestones that a child attains as it grows and these milestones are very important to ensure the growth of your child. As many psychosomatic disorders are seen in children too, these milestones help in spotting them early on and taking steps to preventing worsening. Here we are going to talk about few skills that a child should know by the time he/she turns 5.Communication skills: By the age of 5, children should have good command on their language. They should be able to speak clearly and their pronunciation should be perfect. They should be able to speak complex and compound sentences and tell a simple story using full sentences. They should be able to strike a conversation and learn to wait for their turn to speak in group talks.Social and emotional skillsBy the time a child turns 5, they learn to make friends and make efforts to please them. They can tell difference between real and make-believe things. They start showing concern and sympathy for others. They like participating in activities like singing, dancing or acting. They start becoming independent for e.g. they can go alone to your next door neighbour’s place, won’t need you to come along anymore. As they become more social, they like to participate in activities that involve other kids.Cognitive skillsAt 5, kids are creative and enthusiastic problem solvers. They start asking analytical questions and also give imaginative ideas for how to do a task, or make something. They become aware of things being used daily like food, money etc. They can easily count 10 or more things and can even do simple addition and subtraction. They have understanding of shapes and can even copy them. Five-year-olds understand and use words related to position, such as "under" or "behind." They can even use instruments like thermometers, weighing scale etc.Physical skillsPhysically, five-year-olds are full of energy and look out for active games and environments. They are able to balance and coordinate movements, therefore can ride a bike with training wheels, swim, jump rope etc. They have better control and are able to change the direction, speed and quality of their movements. The flexibility of their fingers is also, improved to great extend and hence they have improved control over writing and painting tools and even manage zippers and buttons.Creative skills Five-year-olds are able to compose and arrange music within specified guidelines. They can enact simple plays and perform puppet shows. They can create realistic art with recognizable subjects and more detailed settings.If your child is completely lacking one or more of these skills, then it might be a good idea to visit a child developmental specialist or pediatrician to rule out developmental disorders or focus on training in a special way to develop certain basic survival skill sets.

20 Tips to Understand Child Psychology

Dr. Manchala Hrishikesh Giri Prasad, Psychiatrist
Increasing familiarity with psychology of children is a daunting task indeed. You are expected to be really patient while trying to understand your child’s requirements. The following tips can help you to create a friendly relationship with your child while understanding him/her better:Observance Is The First Key:One of the best ways to under the psychology of your child is to observe his or her activities.This will help you to know the way he or she plays, eats food, draws, sleeps, communicates with others, and the like.You will find many traits that are consistent in nature.Observe whether your child is able to adjust to changes easily or takes time to settle down.Not all kids have similar traits as they tend to differ in personality.Remember that your child too will have a special personality.Distinguish Your Role As A Parent And As A Friend:You need to clarify your role as a parent and as a friend by setting a few limits on your own.You need to be a good friend at times because it would encourage your kid to have a pleasant interaction with you.Do not let your ‘parent-side’ take over while having a friendly conversation with your child. Instead, offer a wise judgment as a friend would do, without blaming your child for any mistake he or she might have committed.This is important because when you think like a parent, your judgment tends to get a bit different and would prevent the kids from discussing various issues further on.Make sure you don’t spoil your kid, but offer sufficient space to make him understand about your view too.Spend Time With Your Kid:When you spend very less time with your kid, you might not have an intimate relationship with him/herYou have to spend more time with your child and get yourself involved in his life, know his friends and such.This would make him comfortable in discussing his issues openly with you.Whether you have a tight work schedule or an important meeting, set aside a few minutes, to stay in touch with your kid and let him know you are there for him.Teach Your Child To Be responsible:This can be the toughest thing in your life as a parent.As a parent you have to make your kid realize his responsibilities at an earlier stage. This will help your child in the future.If your child pours milk in his mug without spilling, encourage his actions and praise him for being responsible.If your child puts back all the toys in the box after playing, it indicates he is responsible.Encourage your kid, as it would help him realize his responsibilities and be independent.Listen To Your Kid:Children expect their parents to take them seriously and listen to what they are saying.Listen to your kid without being judgmental.Understand his point of view and reasoning.If you do not agree to something, discuss with him what your concerns are.Do not make it into a blame game.Support and encourage him. If required, tell him that what he did was not good, but you still love him.Instill Confidence In Your Kid:As a parent, you are the main source of instilling confidence in your child.If your child has faced a first day at school, ask him or her about the school.Ask them what was taught and if he liked the teacher.Ask about any new friend your child may have made.Though making friends immediately is not an easy task, you can improve his or her confidence and prepare to face the new school in a better way.Ask Your Kids’ Opinion In Some Family decisions:Children feel really important if given a chance to be part of any decision making. It makes them more responsible, and you would be surprised at how mature they suddenly seem!If you are setting up a new home or rearranging the rooms ask your kid’s opinion and listen to what he says.You must understand the idea behind the opinion of your kid rather than judging the mistakes in it.This would offer the confidence in your kid to discuss about his decisions in smaller and bigger things.This in turn would help him make good decisions while he grows up.Stay Updated About Your Child’s Interests:Apart from monitoring your child’s development, you need to stay updated about his likes and dislikes as it would tend to change as he grows.Talk with your kid to know which subject he loves in school, the game he loves to play, his favorite TV show, movie stars, music, etc.Take him for a movie he is interested in or plan to go for a favorite match.This will help in nurturing a bond between you and your child.This would also help you understand your child in a better way.Keep Your Promises:Just as you teach your child to not break a promise, so should you!You must first make sure that you win your kid’s affection by keeping up the promises you make him.Whether it is a trip to the beach or a walk to the supermarket, make sure you keep your promises.This will encourage your child to always be honest.Give Them Some Space:This is something that most parents battle with.Each child needs his or her own space.Don’t barge your child’s life and be a hyperactive parent.Allow him to enjoy a bit of activity he loves, but be around to ensure they don’t go overboard.You can guide him whenever help is needed.Ask Small Questions:When you are interacting with your kid, you must remember to gather lots of information from him or her.This would help you to understand your child’s psychology.If you have small kids at home, their communication would be more of facial and body expressions than speaking it aloud.When you ask your kid small questions, it would be easy for him to answer and share his feelings.This will help you to know whether your kid is facing any issues at school like bullying, etc.Allow Your Kid To Be A Kid:Your kid is after all a child. Allow him or her to be.If he makes a mistake, let him learn from it.Do not have too many expectations.Tell him in a gentle way to be careful instead of banning an activity altogether.Let Your Kid take Time To Develop Social Skills:Some kids can become very friendly with others while some may not be comfortable at all.Some kids develop social skills at an early age, while some would not develop it until a certain age.You can encourage your child to develop the social skills in a gentle way.Remember not to force him as he might take it in a negative way.Understand Fears Or Apprehensions Of Your Kid:When your child is apprehensive about certain things, do not label him/her as being afraid.Try and figure out the real issue that is bothering him.Help him overcome the fear by digging deeper and finding out what factor induced the fear.Even if your kid is not able to express the reasons behind the fear properly, you can try to bring out the real reason by letting your child express his inner feelings.Explain Your Side:If you have taken a decision that your child is not happy with, let him know the reasons that led you to take that decision.This way, you are helping him to grow up as a good decision maker.Even if it is about the time you have fixed for your child to get back home, you can tell him that you have concerns regarding his safety.Even if your kid is not happy with it at the moment, he would appreciate it as he grows into an adult.Be Flexible:It is good to set some rules and follow it. • You have to remember that there can be few exceptions when such instances arise. • You can bend a few rules at such occasions and make sure your kid stays happy and know that their happiness means a lot for you. • This rule can be applied while watching a match of your kid’s favorite sport or a popular movie that you are watching with him.Discuss Your Interests To Avoid Arguments:The main key to understand children psychology is to know what features are common between your kid and you.It might be food, music, games, subjects, hobbies or any other thing.Discuss about your interests with your kid and have a plan about how to develop it further and have fun.This would help you avoid small fights or big quarrels such as who is going to have the TV remote, or which place you should visit for a family vacation.Don’t Stop Talking Even If Your Child Is Not Listening:As a parent of a growing child, you will agree that your kid does not listen to whatever you tell him.Though he might argue with you, your advice would stay etched in his mind as he grows up.Even if he might not agree with what you say, the essence of your advice sticks on.So do not stop your advice session as it will help your kid as he grows and matures.Enhance Self Esteem:Creativity can influence kids psychology in a positive way.As a responsible parent, you can try to enhance your kid’s creativity through motivation.Hang up his artwork on the wall, frame them for your living room display or post them on your blog to encourage them further.This would help your child to build his self-esteem and concentrate more on his creative activities.Create A Peaceful Sleeping Time:Do not let your kid indulge in video games or watch TV before bedtime as it will prevent him from falling asleep faster.Offer a peaceful environment before he/she gos to sleep by setting the room with night lamps.You can also read out a story as a bedtime routine.If your kid gets enough amount of sleep, it is best for developing a positive attitude.

Your Child's First Dental Visit

Dr. Bianca Nazareth Arya, Dentist
I have lost count of the number of times I have been asked this question....' when should I start bringing my child to a dentist?'Most people imagine that if and when the child has trouble with his/her teeth - that is when you go see a dentist. In short - they apply the strategy they follow to their child. I would like to ask a very simple question - "When do you take your child for his/her very first medical check up?" 'Do you wait for them to fall sick? Or do you visit the doctor soon after the child is born - monthly - sometimes even weekly? Do you not make sure the child gets his/her shots regularly and properly?'So then why the step-motherly treatment with the child's teeth? Your child's first dental visit should coincide with the eruption of the very first milk tooth or deciduous tooth. There are several advantages of visiting the dentist so early:You can learn how to take care of the child's oral hygiene  early on. Abnormalities and malformations of teeth/jaws can be detected early.Eruption timings of teeth differ and at times may be abnormal. This can be detected early. Most importantly - if you wait till your child has a problem then his first dental visit may involve a procedure that is uncomfortable. This will determine the way he views dentists all his life, which would involve him further avoiding dentists and treatment. If regularly check ups begin early - the child begins to believe that not all trips to the dentist involve procedures/treatment. He begins to adopt a better attitude which will serve him well later on. Also not all parents are good at detecting problems with their child's teeth. It is not their fault really. They are not dentists. So if you wait until there is frank pain - sometimes its too late to save the tooth. If you visit the dentist regularly - early lesions can be caught out before they progress.There is a lot of preventive treatment that can be done to prevent cavities. Nursing caries/baby bottle tooth decay must be detected and corrected early. Have you noticed how children co-operate better with Doctors rather than dentists? Even though doctors give injections ( which may be painful) too? It is simply because the doctor is far more familiar to the child. This familiarity is the result of lots and lots of friendly check ups and visits over the years right from birth. Give your child a chance to 'LIKE' his/her dentist :)We do not like being feared/hated all the time :)