One the biggest challenges parents face during the nightly routine of bedtime is getting their kids to brush. Constantly needing to remind and cajole your child to take care of his or her own teeth can be frustrating for everyone involved. We’ve got a few ideas to help weary parents and reluctant kids:
Use music or video to keep kids brushing longer.
One of the biggest challenges to adequate brushing is getting kids to brush their teeth for a full two minutes. The 2Min2X website is a great resource with several cartoons and music videos that last exactly two minutes. Fun tools like this make it easier for parents to motivate their children and help kids to get excited about caring for their teeth.
Take advantage of positive reinforcement.
Sticker boards and progress charts are tried and true methods to motivate kids. Choose a small prize that kids can work towards for reaching goals. Even simple praise can go a long way in making kids enthusiastic about caring for their own teeth.
Pick out a toothbrush they love.
Something as simple as having a new toothbrush is a great way to motivate kids to brush their teeth. Choose one with soft bristles that’s age appropriate. If your child is able to brush on their own, be sure to choose one that fits smaller hands and has a head that is made for a smaller mouth. Getting kids involved in choosing their own toothbrush will create even more excitement when it comes time to use them.
Choose toothpaste made for specifically for kids.
Toothpaste comes in a ton of new flavors these days. From bubblegum and fruity flavors to chocolate flavored toothpaste, there’s something for everyone. We’ve even seen bacon flavored toothpaste! Regular toothpaste is generally a version of mint, which children sometimes complain is too harsh or “spicy”. We recommend allowing your child to pick out a flavor. Of course, whatever flavor you choose, be sure to look for the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance.
Stick to a routine.
Having a regular bed-time routine is a great way to reduce stress and make sure that everything “gets done” without having to ask, “Did you brush your teeth?” every night. At first, you may want to make a list of before-bed tasks. Before you know it, your new routine will become habit – hopefully one your children will keep for life.