Tips for Parents: Brushing
Let’s be real… It is HARD to get kids to brush their teeth! Children generally do not consider brushing enjoyable, or even a priority. They would rather be watching cartoons, playing outside, playing with toys… Below are tips that will help you to incorporate regular toothbrushing into your young child’s life.
1. Have a proper introduction
Toothbrushing from a child’s perspective: Mom or dad forces a funny object in your mouth for 2 minutes and pretends it is fun. Scary! Let your child become comfortable with the toothbrush itself first. Leave it somewhere visible and soon your child will be curious. Put it in the bathtub and let your child “discover” it. Soon, he or she will no longer dodge you when you are trying to help.
2. 1-2-3-4-5… Break!
For a child, brushing for a full 2 minutes without a break can seem suffocating. Help your child brush for 5 seconds, take a break for a quick breath and a swallow, and then continue. You can “sing” to 5, count in their favorite cartoon character’s voice… be creative!
3. Let your child be a “copy cat”
Leave your child’s toothbrush on the counter while you brush, or while you help an older sibling brush. Soon, your child will feel left out and want to do the same.
4. Change locations!
Who says you have to brush in the bathroom? Let your child brush in the kitchen after breakfast, or while watching TV. Maybe your child just needs a location change!
5. Have your child teach a “friend”
By “friend,” I mean a stuffed animal, a doll, etc. You can even have your child pick out a toothbrush for his or her friend at the store. If you’re daring, let your child “teach” YOU how to brush! Half a tube of toothpaste smeared all over your face is a small price to pay for your child’s oral health, right?!
6. Find the right toothbrush
…And let your child choose! If they can’t pick one, buy two! If that’s what it takes to get them to brush…
The bottom line is, make brushing your teeth fun and exciting for your child. It doesn’t have to be a chore, and surely shouldn’t feel like one.