Getting your kids to brush their teeth can be a challenge. However, getting them to brush them correctly can be an even bigger task. Each day, children juggle school, activities, and family events, all while trying to learn to take care of themselves. In order to make this easier for them, here are our O’Donnell Family Dentistry tips for teaching your kids to brush and brush correctly.
Utilize resources that already exist!
Especially for younger children, there are plenty of fun, yet educational videos on the internet- cue Youtube. Many of the most famous children’s TV show characters have been included in info-videos, which can make learning basic hygiene practices much more entertaining for your kids. You don’t need to pull everything out of a hat on your own: trust the “edutainment” professionals to help you out here.
Consider battery-powered toothbrushes.
Not only do most kids love a fun gadget- these types of toothbrushes have actually been proven to be more effective, getting those already hard-to-reach places for little ones. Talk to your Centreville dentist about the best brands and sizes for your young one’s small mouth.
Make teeth brushing time a family affair.
The two minutes you spend brushing your teeth can feel like a lifetime to a kid. And if they have to do it alone, it might feel like some type of cruel punishment. Instead, make teeth brushing time a family affair. Designate a time for all members of the family to get involved. Set up a routine that can’t be broken. Some days, you may just not want to fight the good fight- if you get home late or if the kids have a snack while watching a movie on the couch. However, setting this routine allows you (and your kids) to fight this temptation and stay on task. Plus, this models great behavior to those impressionable minds that look up to you.
Reward spectacular teeth brushing behavior.
Just as you’d praise and reward your child for other accomplishments and behaviors- such as getting a nice grade on a project in school or mastering a milestone in a sport- you can motivate your child to brush his/her teeth regularly and effectively by using a reward system. For example, drawing a chart and putting a star sticker for each day that he/she successfully completes the oral hygiene routine is a simple, cheap, and visible way to hold your child accountable for their behaviors. You can also provide a small reward each time he/she completes a full week (or month) of the hygiene routine.
One great way of making sure that your child brushes his/her teeth long enough is to teach them to hum a song for the duration of their oral hygiene routine. Make it age appropriate: younger kids can hum the ABCs while older children can do the chorus of their favorite song on the radio. Either way, the time will be up before they know it!