Is getting the kids ready for bed a struggle, most notably when it comes to oral care? Save yourself from frustration and learn how to make your little ones enjoy brushing and flossing. Many things contribute to why your child tries to escape brushing and flossing. Here are some common issues that a parent can overlook:
Pick delicious toothpasteHundreds of toothpaste brands are available in the market. Don’t be fooled by a happy child’s smile in toothpaste advertisements. If your child is 1-2 years of age, begin with non-minty kinds of toothpaste.
Children often get turned off from brushing when toothpaste is too minty because their mouths are more sensitive than adults. So, choose wisely and start with a fun flavor like orange or strawberry. This way, your child can begin to enjoy brushing more and more.
Use a soft brushAsk your dental provider to recommend a soft-bristled toothbrush. Sometimes, even when the label says “Kid’s Toothbrush,” the bristles can still be tough for a child. You may go over a couple of brushes before your child can find “the” one.
Make up fun gamesChildren love to imitate what grown-ups do. For this reason, it’s easier to teach proper and healthy brushing habits by showing your little ones how it’s done. So, play an imitation game. Join your child in brushing and flossing. You can start the game by allowing your child to copy what you’re doing. Next time, you can let your child start and be prepared to follow. These serve and return, back and forth interactions not only build good dental habits but also a strong foundation in a child’s brain for all future learning and brain development.
RewardsIf your child catches up on the imitation game right away, you can take the game to another level by adding a reward system. Set a calendar or a notebook for your child’s achievement. Give your child stickers for every task completed. For example, your child flossed today, give him or her an appropriate reward. You can be creative by giving your child a chance to make decisions on family nights for a completed week of brushing and flossing.
Teri Petram is the Marketing Director at Sunshine Community Health Center