You were probably terrified of going to the dentist as a kid, so it’s not surprising that your little ones are most likely feeling the same way. A study published in the International Journal of Pediatric Dentistry found that if one family member was anxious about dental visits, that fear was oftentimes passed onto other members. The good news? If your child is scared of the dentist, there are ways to help ease their fears.

Start young. Even if your baby doesn’t have teeth, you should clean their gums with a small toothbrush or a wet cloth after each feeding. Introducing good oral hygiene at an early age prepares kids for examinations and cleanings later on.

Teach relaxation strategies. Anxiety is often just nerves that children may not understand or be able to identify properly. Help your little ones relax with kids yoga or breathing exercises.

Use distraction techniques. Sometimes, one of the easiest things you can do to calm your childrens’ nerves is to keep their mind focused on something else. Bring one of their favorite books or games for a sense of familiarity and comfort. If you make it a fun, happy experience, it will likely translate to a positive visit.

Be positive. Regardless of your own past experiences or how you feel about the dentist now, make it a positive time for your kids. Avoid talking about pain or discomfort and emphasize how healthy their teeth will be.

Reward success. Offer small rewards every time your child visits the dentist without restraint or complaint. Stickers, toys, even extra television time will work. Giving your child something to look forward to when completing a difficult task can make a big difference in their success.