Parents everywhere will hear complaints, whining, and even crying when they tell their children, “it’s time to brush your teeth!” In fact, getting children to develop good oral hygiene habits can be like pulling teeth. However, it does not have to be incredibly difficult to get your children to not only brush their teeth twice each day but also enjoy doing it and want to go to the dentist for their annual appointment. Want some tips on how to make dental hygiene fun for your kids? Start reading to learn all the strategies now.
Choice Of Toothbrush And Toothpaste
There is a valid reason for the plethora of toothbrushes and toothpaste explicitly marketed towards children; let’s face it, brushing our teeth is not a particularly fun activity. But if your child is able to choose a fun toothbrush with their favorite princess or superhero on the handle, they are more likely to want to use it. The same idea applies to the toothpaste as the fun packaging helps increase excitement in children, particularly the younger ones.
The first time you let your child pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste, you might want to let them look at everything on the store shelves themselves. However, after this point, you might be able to get away with just asking if they want a particular toothbrush again. For instance, if they liked Spiderman and chose that character before, try asking if they want another Spiderman toothbrush.
Brush With Them
Children learn by example and often seek to mimic what their parents do, so try applying this to brushing their teeth before bed! When you want your child to brush their teeth, start brushing yours along with them. If you act excited to do it, they will start believing this is an exciting thing to do. If you play your cards right, your children may even begin to ask to brush their teeth and remind you also to do yours. Brushing your teeth at the exact time as your children is also a great way to educate them on the importance of brushing their teeth every night before going to bed.
Read Children’s Books On Oral Hygiene
There is at least one children’s book out there for most things parents need to teach their children, including big things like preparing for a younger sibling. So it stands to reason there are quite a few books on dental hygiene. Since these books are directed towards children, the content is written alongside beautiful illustrations and presented in an exciting manner. While most adults will still do boring things like brushing their teeth or taking out the trash as they understand its benefit, kids need an element of excitement to start them on the right track for developing good habits. So head over to your local library or bookstore and pick out a selection of children's books on teeth and dental hygiene. If you want to involve them even more, have your child pick one book from your selection.
Make Trips To The Dentist Special
No one enjoys going to the dentist, particularly children, as it can appear as a scary place. However, this does not need to be the case for your children. The first step is to carefully pick a pediatric dentist, since they will be well suited to interact with children. Unlike many other dentists, pediatric dentists often have a selection of toys in the waiting area, which helps to lessen the potential fear in children and make them feel more comfortable about being at the dentist office.
Another way to make the trip to the dentist feel special is for parents to purchase a new toy and only let the child have it on the way to and from the dentist’s office. This toy can help make the child eagerly anticipate their next trip. Finally, going on a special outing with your child after their dentist’s appointment is another way to get them excited about the otherwise boring or potentially frightening appointment.
Star Charts And Rewards
Star charts and rewards are very common when trying to get children to do weekly chores, and many parents find them quite effective. So why not apply this strategy to promoting fun and healthy dental hygiene? If you already have a system for chores in place, you can modify it to include giving your child a star when they brush their teeth at night. If you do not have a system, we suggest providing a star each time your child brushes their teeth when asked (without complaining) and reward them at the end of the week if they have reached enough stars. You may even want to give an extra star if your child takes the initiative and goes to brush their teeth when its bedtime without prompting.
Harnassing The Power Of The Tooth Fairy
Most children love the tooth fairy. She is magical, is she not? Glitter left in the room, perhaps a note as well. Of course, one of the best parts of the tooth fairy, for many children at least, is the dollar she leaves behind. Use the excitement and magic surrounding the tooth fairy to make dental hygiene fun. This works when parents say their children need to brush their teeth every night and even before they go to school if they want to keep their teeth pretty for the tooth fairy. Some parents may also want to hint to their child that they may get something extraordinary from the tooth fairy if they take good care of their teeth. Give it a shot next time you want your child to brush their teeth.
Put On Fun Music
If your child enjoys dancing or listening to music, try putting on their favorite song when it's time for them to brush their teeth. Fun and upbeat music is perfect for encouraging dancing and boosting happiness, so this can easily translate to children associating the happy feeling with brushing their teeth when music is played during this time. Try working with your child to create a unique teeth brushing dance, including moves to get back teeth and the tongue. As most songs are usually at least two minutes, this is also a fantastic way to ensure your child is brushing their teeth for optimal oral health. Bonus!