When your kids are infants, they rely on you for oral care. When they’re toddlers, the act of brushing their own teeth is a step toward independence – something that they’re proud of and they want to do. As they start to get a little older, though, their attitudes toward brushing might change. Instead of seeing it as a step toward independence, they see it as a chore. Below are some of the best parent-tested tips to help your kids brush their teeth twice a day, every day.
Talk to Them about Oral Care
Too often, parents simply tell their children they have to brush their teeth, but they never tell them exactly why – only that their teeth will rot if they don’t. Many parents find that simply talking to their children about the importance of oral care is all it takes to prompt them to take better care of themselves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides a lot of really amazing information about kids’ oral health, and you can use it as a guideline when you talk to your kids. Furthermore, remember that this won’t be a one-time chat. You’ll likely need to remind them of the benefits of brushing their teeth now and then.
Make Sure Brushing is a Pleasant Experience
Parents have also found that making sure their kids have a pleasant brushing experience is important for getting them to brush their teeth regularly. Making sure your kids are using toothbrushes with soft bristles and toothpaste that actually tastes good is far more beneficial than giving them a toothbrush with their favorite cartoon character on it. Sensory issues are some of the most common reasons why kids struggle with brushing, so when you can alleviate those issues, they are far more likely to develop good habits early on. WooBamboo offers eco-friendly toothbrushes with soft bristles in kid-friendly sizes, and we also have three amazing flavors of fluoride-free toothpaste that kids really love – especially the Bubble Berry and Marshmallow flavors. (Parents love them, too!)
For kids between the ages of four and 10, especially, reward systems tend to work especially well for habit-building purposes. You can make your system as simple or as elaborate as you like, too. For example, you might get into a simple routine of rewarding your five-year-old with a high five and a special dance after every brushing session, or you might allow them to earn stickers that they can redeem for special prizes, such as a favorite toy or a delicious ice cream. You can make your reward system fit your family dynamic in any way you choose. These small acts can help your kids build lifelong oral care habits that will serve them well through the years.
Set a Good Example
Last, but most certainly not least, if you really want to get your kids to brush regularly, make sure that you are brushing with them. Mornings can be hectic and busy, but taking two minutes out of your day to brush your teeth beside your little ones won’t set you back too far. Along those same lines, adjust your evening routine so that you are brushing your teeth with your kids before they go to bed. Kids are like sponges who absorb everything their parents do, so when you set the precedent, good behaviors and habits will follow.
All in all, remember that no two kids are the same, so you might have to get creative from time to time. Kids go through phases, too, so do your very best to see them through while encouraging them to take care of their teeth and gums. These tips will go a long way toward helping you help them.