Children aren’t born knowing how to take care of themselves, or even knowing that they need to take care of themselves. They aren’t born knowing that they need to take care of their teeth, either. It is up to the parents to teach their children such things as how and when to bath, wash their hair, get dressed, brush their teeth, and so much more. Research shows that if parents emulate good oral hygiene, their children will grow up with good oral hygiene, too. Good oral hygiene includes brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and attending your biannual dental visits. But for children, all that can be a drag, so here are four ways you can make brushing fun for your kids.
The Fun Four
Make brushing an event: You can set a timer each time your child brushes for two minutes, but two minutes can seem like an eternity to kids. Instead, make it an event by getting creative. Here are some suggestions:
- Play your child’s favorite song for two minutes.
- Allow them to watch a two-minute video.
- Use tooth brushing apps.
- Read, or act out, a two-minute story.
Incorporate their favorite character: Most children have a favorite character that they can’t get enough of. Does your child’s favorite character have a book or song about brushing teeth? Many children’s shows and books do have stories about brushing. Watch and read them together, so they will want to emulate their favorite character’s good habits!
Rewards: Rewards are often used to motivate children. What sorts of rewards would your child enjoy? Maybe something as simple as putting a penny in a jar each time he/she brushes. At the end of each month you can bring them to the bank and put them into their account together. Maybe your child loves stickers, or maybe they can choose the bedtime story.
Go shopping: By allowing your child to pick out his/her own toothbrush and toothpaste they may be more motivated to actually use it! They can choose their favorite flavor paste, their favorite character toothbrush, or maybe even a “tickle toothbrush” (a battery-operated toothbrush). Just make sure what they choose is approved by the ADA (American Dental Association).