Making brushing fun for your kids. A cavity isn’t fun for anyone, especially parents. The best way to teach your child how to effectively care for their teeth in the future, is by making it a habit now. The easiest way to do that, is by making it fun. And while young children will eventually go on to place those teeth under their pillows, the habits will remain. We’ve come up with 5 ways to ensure that your children remain interested in keeping their teeth and mouth healthy and clean.
1.Make it a game.
Young children especially, respond well to stimulation. By making the activity fun and interesting, they are more likely to associate it with a positive experience and continue to do it in the future. We see this happen in elementary school science courses, where students are able to build their first electromagnets, or paper bridges. Brushing their teeth with Elmo (to the tune of the Brushy Brush Song), for instance, can help a child to have fun brushing their teeth. Check out Kool Smiles for other fun and interesting oral hygiene activities.
2. Do it together.
Believe it or not, your young children watch everything that you do. They note each action you take. When they see you brushing, that experience, among the many others, becomes lodged in their childhood memories. Make this impact bigger by brushing your teeth together with your children for some quality family bonding time. Perhaps do it to the beat of an old song that you enjoyed. The association between brushing teeth and spending time with Mom or Dad can be a huge influence on your children’s oral hygiene, as they grow older.
3. Use a reward system.
While giving kids candy or some other treat before bed may not be the best course of action, it never hurts to create a reward system that kids can use, perhaps in conjunction with other events like chores etc. Have them brushing their teeth worth a certain number of points and have a prize ready when they finally reach it. Take them to see that movie they wanted or buy them that game/toy, once they earn the big prize.
4. Time it.
Many of these suggestions will work better on younger children, but what about ones that are already older? Put an egg timer in the bathroom and time their brushing; brush together with them to ensure compliance. If they can’t simply jump back to whatever they were doing before, they might as well brush, right?
5. Explain to your children the importance of keeping their teeth clean regularly.
While this is last on the list, it is by no means the least important: Communication is an important aspect of parenting. When you set aside time for your family, ensure that you take some time every so often to talk about oral hygiene. Make it important, so that it isn’t forgotten, and utilize some of the steps above. Don’t assume that your children know, or haven’t forgotten, the importance of having a clean mouth.
For more helpful tips on how to keep your kids in the habit of keeping their teeth and gums healthy and clean, check out our other blogs here.