For many parents, the biggest challenge with their kids is getting them to adopt the best habits. Of these important habits, one of the most difficult for kids to catch hold of is brushing their teeth on a regular basis. Your kids should be brushing at least twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. This is true for toddlers and teenagers alike. Establish these good habits early on to ensure they will continue into their adult life.
Make it Fun
It may be tempting for parents to include brushing the teeth as part of your child’s daily chores, but this may be counter productive. Try to make brushing the teeth as positive an experience as possible. This can include fun toothpastes featuring their favorite cartoon character, cute toothbrushes, and rinsing cups they will love to use. Encourage your child by having fun while brushing teeth, even if you brush together. Putting on one of your child’s favorite songs to brush to, making sure it lasts the right amount of time to get a thorough brushing.
Create a Story
Young children love to hear stories told over and over again, tell them one pertaining to brushing their teeth. Tell a story of a young child who has terribly dirty teeth until given a magic toothbrush or even create your own history to the tooth fairy. The stories you tell will get your kids interested and focused on keeping their teeth healthy and clean. You can even create a storybook together with you writing the story and your child filling in the pictures on each page. Make the story unique and your own.
Let Your Child Brush
If your child is old enough let them brush their own teeth under your supervision. If they are still too young, allow them to practice on their stuffed animals. Designate a toothbrush for your child’s stuffed animal that they can brush while you take care of his or her teeth. This will make the whole process more familiar, taking away some of the anxieties your child may be feeling.
There are many different levels of incentives that can be given for your child when they brush their teeth as you want them. Use a sticker chart and reward them on a monthly, semi-weekly, or weekly basis. These rewards don’t have to be anything big, and can even be as simple as a trip to the park. Don’t use candy as these rewards as this will be counterproductive in the health of your children’s teeth.
There are various ways to encourage your child to brush their teeth. Take the time to find what works best for your child. Encouraging good brushing habits from an early age will make a huge difference, setting them up for success later in life.