You’re probably familiar with the “breath test” to check and see if your children actually brushed their teeth like they said they did. It can be difficult to get kids excited about their dental health. That said, here are 6 tricks that work wonders:
1. Do it together
Brushing your teeth with your children makes it easy to ensure they’re doing it; and it can also make the activity more fun for them. Especially if you’re a working parent, kids look forward to planned “together time,” whether that means reading a book together or brushing your teeth. Also, if they see your commitment to brushing is strong, it will encourage them to start feeling the same way.
2. Let them choose
There’s a reason the grocery store offers 10 types of adult toothbrushes and 50 types of kids’ ones. Kids don’t get to make a lot of their own decisions in life, so they might feel empowered if they’re allowed to choose exactly what toothbrush and toothpaste they use. If they feel like they’re part of the process, they’ll be less opposed to the mandatory task of brushing every day.
3. Make it a game
Kids are easily distracted, so it’s important to find ways to get your kid actively involved in brushing, so they do it right and prevent cavities. Come up with simple challenges or games to keep them brushing, such as using a special timer or singing a song while brushing. Encourage them to make bubbles with the toothpaste or create fun analogies to their favorite things and activities to keep them brushing longer.
4. Set up a reward system
Some kids are motivated by rewards, no matter how small. You can set up any reward system you like to encourage consistent tooth cleaning. For example, if they remember to brush, they can have their favorite food for breakfast. Or create a star chart, and after a week of brushing, give them a weekend reward.
5. Use books and videos
Hearing an explanation of why brushing is important from you isn’t going to be very entertaining for your kids. But luckily, there are tons of books and resources out there that offer fun lessons on how and why to brush. You can probably even find a video on YouTube of other children having fun while brushing, which shows your child they can have fun, too.
6. Invest in electric
Electric toothbrushes can be expensive, causing many parents to pass on buying one for a tiny mouth that’s just going to grow out of it. But if you’re having trouble getting your children excited about brushing, then getting them an electric toothbrush is a surefire way to help. Electric toothbrushes usually tickle and make funny noises, which makes brushing your teeth a lot like playing with a toy.
Most kids won’t become consistent brushers just because you tell them to. Encourage them to brush by looking for ways to make it a more fun experience for them.