Teaching your kids about the importance of oral healthcare is something that starts early on and continues throughout childhood. From the time that first tooth erupts until they are old enough to manage their hygiene on their own, it’s up to you to make sure your little ones’ teeth and gums are healthy. Below are some fun games and activities that you can try with your children to make toothbrushing fun and exciting.
Put Together a “2 Minutes” Playlist
The American Dental Association says that kids should brush for at least two minutes in order to get a thorough clean. However, two minutes means very little to a small child, and it can be extremely difficult to keep a two-year-old focused on brushing for that long. One of the absolute best ways to build that two-minute habit is through a “2 Minutes” playlist. In essence, it involves finding songs or clips of songs that are right at two minutes long, then building a playlist with them. When it’s time to brush, let your child pick the tune for the morning or evening and brush from the first note to the last. It’s fun and enjoyable, and it’s great for creating lifelong habits.
Make Sticker & Star Charts
For some children – and especially children between the ages of about 4 and 10 – a reward system is the best way to make toothbrushing more fun and less hassle. Make (or print) a toothbrushing reward calendar and put it in the area where your child brushes. Each time your kiddo successfully finishes a brushing session, add a sticker to the chart. When the chart is full (usually at the end of the week), your child gets a pre-determined prize. Some great options include an ice cream treat, a trip to the park, or some special one-on-one time with mom, dad, or another caregiver.
Set Fun Alarms on Your Phone
For older children, it isn’t the brushing itself that’s the issue – it’s remembering to brush that causes the problems. In situations like these, you can set an alarm in any number of ways. If your child has their own phone, help them set up a fun and silly reminder to get those teeth clean. If not, consider thrifting a cool alarm clock to keep in your children’s room and setting it to the proper toothbrushing times. Both are fun ways to help your child remember to brush. Try using a recording of your voice or one of your kid’s favorite silly sounds as the alarm sound. It’s even better.
Brush as a Family
The phrase “monkey see, monkey do” is ever so true when it comes to our children. They will always emulate the grownups in their lives, so if you really want to help them develop a good toothbrushing habit, make it a family event whenever you can. In the morning, gather everyone around the sink to brush and talk about what they dreamed about the night before. At bedtime, ask everyone to mention one great thing that happened during the day. Believe it or not, that two minutes of brushing time can become a cherished family memory.
Silly songs, alarm clocks, and even reward charts are all great ways to help make toothbrushing fun and exciting for your child. However, brushing as a family whenever possible is by far the best and most rewarding option. Combine it with some or all of the other ideas to keep things interesting for your child, and don’t hesitate to personalize it to meet your kids’ needs.