Even if your child already knows how to brush their teeth by themselves, getting into the routine of brushing twice a day can be tricky. The ADA recommends that everyone, even children, should brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. However, this can be hectic along with getting the kids to school, going to work and other kids that also require attention. Sometimes kids just simply don’t want to brush their teeth or get dental anxiety. Try out our tips and tricks for making teeth brushing fun for kids and how to integrate it into their routine.
Create a schedule
It’s easier to get kids to brush their teeth when it’s a part of their daily schedule. Write up a checklist to put on their bathroom wall that the kids need to finish before they go to school in the morning or have free time at night. You can add brushing their teeth to the list and have them check off each activity. Even if you have a busy week or the kids aren’t home some nights, make sure they stick to the routine. You can even make travel checklists for the kids to take with them during sleepovers or vacation. Integrating brushing time into a daily routine will make it a habit that your kids will automatically do each morning and night.
Make brushing time fun
Brushing can feel like a chore for kids. Make brushing time more fun by associating it with something they like. Instead of setting a timer for two minutes, play two minutes of their favorite music or a video they like while they’re brushing. Sometimes for younger kids, it can be beneficial to let them brush their favorite stuffed animal or doll’s teeth before their own. Brush along with your child to show them good behavior and you can even make it a family routine. You can also make it a contest to see who can the best funny face or dance move while you’re brushing.
Reward and compliment them
Once your kids are done brushing their teeth, compliment how shiny their teeth look. Remind them that the dentist will be proud of them the next time they go in for a check-up. You can also reward your kids for brushing their teeth twice a day and for the correct amount of time. Print off a motivational chart they can check off once they’re done brushing their teeth. Reward your kids with a healthy treat once they’ve brushed correctly for the entire week or work off a token system. Every time your child brushes correctly, they get a token that they can save up to redeem for prizes or trips to their favorite place.
Let them pick out their toothbrush and toothpaste
Head to the store and let your child pick out their favorite flavor toothpaste and a toothbrush they like. Make sure the toothpaste and toothbrush are both ADA approved. You’re sure to find a toothpaste your child will look forward to brushing with that has their favorite cartoon character on the package or comes in a tasty flavor. There are also themed toothbrushes you can pick out, or you can simply pick one in their favorite color. Mark your calendar for toothbrush shopping day every three months to give your kids something to look forward to. Be sure to read the packaging on each product for special brushing instructions for younger children.
It’s important to get your children into the habit of brushing and flossing their teeth now so they don’t have cavities later. If you start them on a routine and rewarding good behavior while they’re young, you’ll find them making it habit throughout their lives. Contact the office of Daniel J. Derksen, DDS, PLLC to set up a cleaning appointment for your child to show off their great brushing habits.