In your kid’s excitement stakes, brushing their teeth is probably not on their radar. Instead, as a parent, you are presented with a seemingly never-ending struggle to get your child to brush their teeth without any fuss!
While you may appreciate that yellowing teeth, stinky breath, and tooth decay are all bad things; your growing tot does not. However, to avoid dental problems further down the road, instilling the importance of good oral hygiene is essential.
Here we’ve rounded up 8 ways to help your kid get excited about brushing their teeth:
Let them choose
The toothbrush market is booming. With that there is a broad range of fun, bright, colourful, character laden kids toothbrushes to spark your child’s imagination and help make them enthusiastic about brushing. So let them choose for themselves.
Whether you want to invest in a baby electric toothbrush, get a brush with everyone from Pokemon to My Little Pony, LOL to Batman, you won’t struggle to find the perfect toothbrush for your tot. What’s more, there are a variety of options that include built-in timers and flashing lights so your child brushes for that all important decay-fighting two minutes x twice a day!
Once you’ve got the toothbrush sorted, you might want to let your child try a few different toothpaste flavours until you find the one they like the most. From fluoride-free strawberry to mild mint, bubblegum, vanilla, apple and more, it won’t take you long to discover the one that suits your child best.
Make sure you check all the package information to ensure you buy the most appropriate toothpaste for your child. For instance, 0 – 3 year olds and 3 – 6 year olds should use a toothpaste with no less than 1,000ppm fluoride.
Stickers, rewards & prizes
Children love stickers, and a fussy tot is no different! Each time they successfully brush their teeth, do it without complaint or simply do something outstanding, reward them with a sticker. Better still, create a reward chart so they can track their progress.
Rewards mean prizes! If they get so many stickers, give them a treat such as a TV program or film to watch together, a new book or a fun family activity on the weekend.
After a while, your kid will associate good things with toothbrushing.
Sing & dance
Whether your kid’s favourite song is a chart topper or a nursery rhyme, why not try blasting it out while you brush their teeth. You can even adapt lyrics to make it match what you’re doing! Instead of “Row, row, row your boat,” swap the words for “brush, brush, brush your teeth.”
What’s more, you can dance along and make up some fun tooth brushing actions to get everyone involved in the process.
Remember that all important 2 minutes? Well, pick a tune that has a similar run time. That way your child will get used to the amount of time required, and associate tooth brushing with that song!
Tell a story
Brushing your teeth can be boring at any age. So why not make toothbrushing come alive by telling your child an entertaining story?
Whether their brush becomes a dragon that hunts for gold in you’ve guessed it, their teeth, or they have to scrub away the shells on the seashore so that the mermaids can use them for their new piece of art – get creative.
While you’re telling the story, you can adapt it as you watch your child’s brushing technique. So if they have missed a spot or its time to spit, you can encourage them as part of the story.
Use a timer
Setting an egg timer for two minutes might not spark your kid’s interest, but what if it involved their favourite Disney hero or another fun creature, like a monster?
There are numerous online apps available from the enchanting Disney Magic Timer to Brush DJ that are designed to encourage your child to brush for the recommended time. Some even offer rewards such as progress badges, short cartoons and more.
Turn it into a game
Motivation is key to good toothbrushing, so why not turn it into game? Encourage your child to brush their teeth as part of a race, to get them as clean as possible with 2 minutes on the clock. Or race against them, and see which one of you gets the cleanest teeth within a fixed amount of time.
With enough high energy and praise, your kid will feel more motivated to brush when reinforced with positive, tangible encouragement.
A shared, bonding activity
Brushing your teeth together will not only show your kid that it’s an important activity, but that you want to share it with them too. That way you can learn together, and they can see what techniques you use as well.
Spending time with your children is a special moment for both of you, and the more special it is, the more excited your kid will be to spend it with you.
Let them practice on you
At first glance, the idea of handing your toothbrush to your child and then letting them brush your teeth may sound a bit daunting. However, your tot is more likely to find it incredibly interesting as it allows them to get a close up view of all the curves, grooves and ridges of your teeth. Plus, it shows them all the hidden places plaque can hide.
As they brush your teeth, talk them thorough the process of why its important. Let them know how good a job they are doing, and how they are really helping you. The more positive reinforcements you give your child, the more willing and excited they’ll get about giving it a go themselves.
It’s time to turn those frowns upside down, and get your kid’s excited about toothbrushing! With a few simple tweaks to your daily routine, your child will be eager and up for the challenge in no time. What activity will you try first?
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