Getting kids to brush their teeth well is a constant battle. You know how vital good oral health habits are, but it's hard to convince your child of this when there are so many more interesting things to do. The good news is that tooth brushing doesn't have to be monotonous or boring. Here are six tips to make the experience more pleasant for both of you:
1. Let Your Child Pick a Toothbrush
There is an almost endless variety of toothbrushes to choose from. They come in practically any color imaginable and feature many popular characters. Allow your child the freedom to pick any style of brush that he or she likes. If you can't find the perfect toothbrush in a store near you, you're almost sure to find what you're looking for online.
2. Offer a Variety of Toothpastes
Children's toothpastes come in many colors and flavors, with some even featuring sparkles. Having a few to choose from when it's time to brush gives your child a degree of control over the situation and keeps the experience from being quite so boring.
3. Tell a Tale
Kids try to get in and out of the bathroom as quickly as possible, but they need to brush for at least two minutes to do an effective job. Instead of watching the clock, try choosing a story that takes only a couple of minutes to read and have your child brush until it's over. Better yet, make up your own funny story featuring friends, family or even your pets.
4. Offer a Reward
Turn brushing into a positive experience by offering a reward for a job well done. If your child brushes for two minutes without complaining, offer a little something special. It could be anything that your child likes, from stickers to extra screen time. The key is to tailor the reward to your child, so that it's something he or she wants to strive for.
5. Have a Dance Party
Why not brush your teeth with your child and turn it into a fun time for both of you? Put on some upbeat music and dance around while you brush your teeth together. You'll be setting a great example, getting some exercise and making sure that your little one's teeth get clean all at the same time.
6. Sound the Alarm
Instead of setting a standard timer to go off after two minutes of brushing, get creative. Do something silly, like ring a bell, blow a whistle or play a ringtone on your phone. Your child will be so busy anticipating the next alarm that he'll forget to complain about how long he has to brush.
Convincing kids to brush their teeth is definitely a challenge. It can leave even the most patient parents with frayed nerves, but it doesn't have to be that way. By getting a little creative and silly, tooth-brushing time can become something to look forward to each day instead of something that both of you dread.