Getting your child to learn an important life skill like brushing twice a day is no ordinary feat. With all the tears and resistance to brush, explaining to your child about the importance of good oral care is tough. With some creativity and patience you can achieve the seemingly impossible task.
Let’s get started!!!!
make it fun, play games
A word of encouragement for your toddler goes a long way!!!!
Be enthusiastic about brushing and cheer your child with every tooth brushed. Give your child a toothbrush to play with. Let him brush his toys teeth while you brush his. You can also prepare a daily brushing chart and give your child a sticker for everyday brushing. Since kids love games, if your child is not brushing well or long enough then make his brushing a fun game he enjoys!!!!
stick to routine
Keep at it!!!!
Many a time, you may feel tempted to let your kid skip his brushing. However, even if it has been a long tiring day or a vacation, keep at it. The more second nature brushing becomes for your child, the easier it will be to get him to brush.
go shopping, give them a choice
If your kids enjoy going shopping, take them along for some fun dental supplies shopping together. Let them pick up their own toothbrushes and toothpastes. You’ll find many good character tooth brushes to choose from in the stores. Quality toothpastes with fluoride are also available in many flavours. Allow your child the choice to choose his favourite brush and paste. Your child will enjoy the experience and will look forward for the shopping every 6 months, when the brush has to be changed. Guide your child to pick up a brush with soft bristles and a head size that is age appropriate. Both the manual brushes and the powered tooth brushes are effective in plaque removal.
family affair, parents role models
It’s family time!!!
Tell……Show…..Do is the mantra for your children to learn. Little ones learn a lot by watching their peers or seniors do. Let your kids watch you through your flossing and brushing routine. Make it a point to also scrape your tongue and masage your gums. Look happy and pleased at the end of the routine, as this will positively impact the child on the importance of regular oral hygiene procedures. If your child is below 6 years of age, assist him in his brushing. For older children upto 8 years guide them through the brushing. Your children will learn from you. So set a good example. Flossing and brushing promotes healthier teeth and gums from a young age .
It’s gift time!!!!
For most children a reward system can make brushing fun time. You can create your own monthly charts for brushing. Every time your child brushes his teeth, you can give him his favourite sticker to put on the cart after every successful brushing session. Give him a gift at the end of the week for getting all the stickers. You can also give an “bumper prize” such as his favourite toy, or a book for bedtime stories at the end of the month. A huge hug, a high five or a compliment by saying “i’m proud of you” motivates your child to do better.
make a story
ignite your imagination!!!!!
You can make up stories of the tooth and the germs. Involve the kids favourite cartoon character to make up stories to keep the child occupied during brushing. Just go ahead and you can get as innovative with your narration.
fun books and videos
watching is learning!!!!
Set a timer and supervise your child’s brushing or crank it up with some songs and videos. Ensure to make a two minute brushing routine his favourite dance party!!! You can purchase videos on brushing or download some free ones from the net. Read out books on teeth and brushing. Either ways, stories and videos offer a great way to teach your kids about better caring for their teeth in simple ways.
A healthy competition between siblings of different age groups can create a lifelong toothbrushing habit. You can play a 2-minute song and the winner is the one who brushes continuously for the whole 2 minutes. Younger children who are yet to learn to brush can be assisted by you. Create a healthy competition with some rewards, if necessary.
let kids practice on others
my turn to brush!!!!
Well, lend your teeth to your kid to experiment. It may seem a bit uncomfortable, but if it works the pay off is huge. You open your mouth and allow the child to brush and in turn your kid will try to mimic you. But make sure it seems like fun to your child to brush on your teeth.
let them participate in brushing
self help time!!!!
At that point in time when your child wants to be independent and explore things around him, encourage him to do so. Use it to full advantage when it comes to toothbrushing. It could be a bit messy, its still worth it. Doing the brushing on their own also improves motor skills, independence and confidence in your child. Allow your child to open the cap of the tube and dispense the paste. Some spillage and wastage is a part of the learning process.
try a different toothpaste
variety is fun!!!!
With so many varieties and flavours of kids tooth pastes available in the market today, let’s think beyond “mint”. Give your child the option to try out different flavours every time. But of course, variety brings in the zeal to brush every time. If your child is below 2 years, the chances are that he could be swallowing the paste. You can get your toddler a non fluoridated paste and a plenty of non fluoridated pastes are available in the market. As for the older ones you can opt for the fluoridated pastes.