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Thanks to Aimee for this guest post on making brushing your teeth fun for kids.
Taking care of kids isn’t for the faint hearted, and morning and bedtime routines can feel like the toughest of battles. Trying to get your child to stand and brush their teeth for 2 minutes twice a day might seem hard enough never mind getting them to have fun as well!
It isn’t always easy but it is crucial to form these good oral care habits from an early age. And they will thank you for it later.
Thankfully kids have the wildest imaginations, so the job doesn’t have to be entirely up to you.
You can share it with – The Tooth Fairy.
Appeal to your child’s fun and vivid imagination by conjuring up this classic and well-loved tale of the magic tooth fairy who collects shiny and healthy teeth in return for rewards. The better story you conjure up, the more your child is going to want to make her happy.
And now that they are raring to go, follow these simple dental tips on how to keep the tooth fairy happy.
#1 Have Some Family time
Why not make brushing your teeth a family activity, just the same as you would for sitting down for family dinner.
Children learn from seeing and doing, especially from their parents, therefore if you do it every night and every morning and do all the right techniques whilst making it look fun, they will copy.
The best way to do this is in front of a mirror with exaggerated movements of the proper brushing techniques.
And don’t forget to enjoy yourself whilst doing it so they think it is a fun family activity.
#2 Make It “Special” To Them
Make it their own special thing by allowing your child to pick out their very own age appropriate toothbrush, and their own toothpaste for them to use.
Thankfully there is a huge range these days of children’s toothbrushes, pastes, mouthwashes and even floss. They get to have the fun of picking colours, and flavours that they like and helps them feel like they are the ones benefiting.
A fun thing to consider is using it as a reward. If they have a full week of brushing and flossing daily they get to choose the toothpaste flavour for the next month.
Let them participate in the choices that are made rather than just the activity themselves.
#3 Tell Them A Story
A fun way to make the 2 minute time fly by is story time!
Not only does a story keep them distracted for the 2 minutes it takes to brush but if you include the reasons why you should brush your teeth along with good techniques then it is educational too. Add in a few extra characters and you’ll be sure to make teeth brushing a fun time.
Stories such as the tooth fairy are tried and tested, we all know she only collects the most healthy and pearly white teeth, so you better get brushing!
Or what about the evil sugar monsters that like to destroy the teeth? This can be a fun one to explain how sugary snacks and not brushing your teeth causes cavities and you can really make your child the hero of this tale by having them battle the sugar monsters by brushing their teeth.
You can have a lot of fun with making up stories and different games to incorporate brushing techniques as well as having a fun time. Just use your imagination.
#4 Get Some Practice In
We’ve heard it all before, practice makes perfect.
This is no different for brushing teeth, not only on themselves but how about letting them practice on their stuffed toys to add a bit more fun as well as responsibility. And for the braver parents, let them practice on you (but you should maybe re-brush after!)
Letting them practice on something other than themselves allows you to really show them the good techniques they should be applying as well as making it more fun.
#5 Role Play
Every kid loves playing dress-up or role play games of ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ Well instead of a mermaid (slightly unrealistic) how about role-playing the dentist?
Not only is this fun, it has the added benefit of getting your child prepared and comfortable with visiting the dentist. They can get to understand who it is that looks after their teeth when there’s problems, and how they have to act on their visits.
Pretending to be the dentist and examining each others teeth is a fun game as well as one where you can really get into technique of doing it right. So take turns in who is the dentist and who is the patient and make sure to count those healthy teeth.
#6 Make Some Noise
This is one for the less creative of us. And who can really blame you especially in the morning or just before bed.
Instead of playing games or telling stories why not find a few songs that your kid loves and blast them during teeth brushing time.
Find a few songs that your kid loves or is super fun that lasts close to 2 minutes. Whilst the song is playing your child has to be brushing. They don’t stop until the song does.
This is a fun way to make sure you are meeting the recommended two minutes, and you can also add it into your rewards. Let your child pick the song for bedtime brushing if they last the full 2 minutes in the morning.
#7 Failing All Of That… Bribe Them
Ahh no, we definitely don’t mean with sweets.
Consider the things previously mentioned, such as choosing their toothbrush or toothpaste, even choosing the songs you listen to whilst brushing.
Rewards can make it much more fun and exciting but you don’t want it to be simply about that otherwise they won’t understand just how important it is. Try and instill that the most important reason for brushing teeth is to keep them healthy.
Figuring out the best way to make brushing their teeth fun will be the easiest way to make it a habit. Getting in early will make for a future of good oral health care and perfect smiles. So tell them to turn those frowns upside down and get brushing.
Have you got any good tips worth sharing? We hope this helps!
Aimee works with Glasgow-based dentist Buttercup 7-Day Dental, writing about all things oral care, dentistry and healthy dazzling teeth.
Buttercup 7 Day Dental is a dentist located in Glasgow’s West End. Butterup was founded in 2011 by Gerwyn and Angela Rowlands with the aim of creating a clinic where patients would feel safe and relaxed. At Buttercup, our finest mission is to end our patients dentist fear and provide them with a high quality service.
Here is this week’s Living Arrow’s post on what baby girl has been getting up to this past week!
*This is a collaborative post