Dental hygiene is one of the most important lessons we can pass down to our children for many reasons. First, there is the basic human courtesy of not having bad breath. Secondly, no one enjoys dental pain (or dentist bills, for that matter)!
Many children can turn teeth brushing into a battle. I’m here to say it doesn’t have to be so boring. Rather, it can be introduced as a fun and cool routine that everyone does every day. Here are some effective ways to get your child excited about brushing:
- Buy Him A Cool New Toothbrush
- Let Him Use Mouthwash
- Create A Morning And Nighttime Bonding Ritual
- Utilize Positive Reinforcement
There are about a thousand different kinds of kids’ toothbrushes to excite any child. Make going to the supermarket to pick out a new toothbrush into an exciting event for your child. Let him pick out whatever toothbrush he wants. It could be Sponge Bob, Dora the Explorer, Spiderman, or just a plain purple electric toothbrush. Just make sure it is small enough to fit inside his mouth comfortably. Odds are that your child will want to rush home and start brushing right away with his cool new toothbrush.
In my experience, kids love mouthwash. It isn’t recommended that you give a child full strength mouthwash. You can dilute your own mouthwash with a lot of water or you can purchase special children’s mouthwash that comes in fun flavors like cotton candy and bubblegum. Either way, I have found that kids just love taking a mouthful of something, swishing it around, and spitting it into the sink. It is the one time they are encouraged to spit! And using mouthwash like Mommy and Daddy will make him feel grownup.
Kids love rituals and schedules. They like to know what to expect so do what you can to incorporate brushing your teeth and your child’s teeth at the same time each day. If this is something that the family does together, he is much more likely to want to take part in the activity. You can also get older siblings involved to make it truly be a family event.
Children respond well to praise. Explain to your child why it is important that we brush our teeth every day and let him know how proud it makes you to see him brushing his teeth. Don’t be afraid to pile on the praise as it can make a big difference in him embracing a teeth brushing routine.
You can also start a reward system, such as a sticker chart. Each time he brushes his teeth he gets to pick out a sticker and place it on the chart. Children love stickers and tracking progress allows them to brag to other relatives about their achievements.
You can get other relatives in on the action too by allowing your child to call his Grandma or Aunt to let them know that he brushed his teeth and let them tell him how proud they are of him. It is important to stay patient and always remain positive about teeth brushing, so avoid negative language or body language. If your child sees that you have a positive attitude toward teeth brushing then he is likely to adopt a positive attitude towards it as well.