It can be a battle and a half to get your kid to brush their teeth. Who wants to put a bristled foamy thing in their mouth and stand still for two minutes? No, thank you!
Routines are the foundation of a good day you can fall right into and find joy within, especially when it comes to maintaining your health. Kids need structure to move from one activity to another since their minds are growing and they tend to live in the present. Here are a few bright ideas to make brushing your teeth fun for kids.
1. Toy Tooth Brushing Buddy
Kids typically have a stuffed animal sleeping companion, so why not a toy tooth brushing buddy? Many dentists and parents advise parents to introduce the importance of routine dental care at home to their child by getting them to care for their toys similarly.
You might say, “Okay, before we put Teddy to bed, he needs to brush his teeth. He ate a big dinner.” Give Teddy his own mini toothbrush and play pretend where your child brushes Teddy’s “teeth.” Teddy and your child can brush their teeth together.
2. Race to the Finish
Kids love to race, so make a game to race to the finish when brushing your teeth. Who can brush the most thoroughly in two minutes, three minutes or five minutes? Who flossed? Set an egg timer. Get creative but keep the competition light and fun.
3. Teach Proper Brushing Technique
Of kids between the ages of two and 11, 42 percent have tooth decay, but with routine brushing and treatment, the number boosts to a positive 80 percent of kids with non-decaying teeth. White spots on the upper front teeth and along the gum line are one of the first spots of early childhood tooth decay. Teach your kids the proper way to brush:
• At a 45-degree angle, place the brush against the gum line.
• Start at the base of the tooth and brush toward the chewing surface.
• Brush each section of the tooth and chewing surfaces with sweeping short motions.
• Don’t forget the roof and tongue! Brush from back to front.
4. Experiment with Toothbrushes and Toothpaste
Think of training toothpaste and brushing like the training process with the potty. Kids have to get used to it, but once they do, look at the pride shown! Yep, little one, you’re a big kid now.
Look for toothpaste and brushes specially made for children, which should be safe for accidental or intentional swallowing. Training toothpaste also is usually fluoride-free, and you only need water for kids under one year. Consult with your child’s dentist before choosing a training toothpaste.
Kids will get excited to try out brands featuring their favorite superheroes and characters, along with favorite flavors. They may need to go for the softest bristles possible, and that’s okay.
5. Activity Sticker Reward System
Sticker reward systems are helpful for making little ones feel proud of their milestones, such as potty training and helping around the house. Many sticker systems reward children with toys, which isn’t necessarily wrong, but varied rewards keep a child interested in the system and reinforce other developmental parts of their growth.
Set a two-minute limit and time your child, adding a smiley face for every 12 hours complete with the goal met every time. When the goal is missed, add a smiley upside down. You can give a grace amount of missed times, such as two a week if you like.
Every week, two weeks or month your child gets to draw a special activity from a jar of pre-selected ideas you came up with together, such as going to the museum or water park. Activities will keep your child engaged and broaden their horizons. The system works when your child is an active participant.
Routine is a necessary part of getting tasks accomplished daily, but even adult’s dread elements of structure and routine because they get mundane and boring. It doesn’t have to be that way — make brushing fun for both you and your kids.
Invite toys to a tooth brushing party and race to the finish. When your child is successful, reward them with a special activity. Have fun with teeth brushing and oral health care routines because their smile lights up the world.
Like what you read? Also check out our latest FREE online classes, parenting advice, jobs for moms, events, childcare listings, casting calls & raffles, and our Parents With Nannies Facebook group.
Kacey Bradley is the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she frequently writes for sites like US Travel News, Thought Catalog, Style Me Pretty, Tripping.com and more!