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3. INVOLVE: Allow your children to choose which brush to buy from the range of options you give them. Let them choose one normal and one electric brush. Allowing them to have a choice, creates more interest.
4. OPTIONS: Give them options daily on whether they will like to brush 1st, change clothes or bathe 1st. Again, this creates a sense of involvement and interest in the child.
5. FREEDOM: Sometimes, randomly allow them to skip brushing or pretend: "Today we will do short cut brushy". You can do a short cut brush for real or pretend it to be short e.g. by skipping the rinsing part. I use this as an incentive to my child on the days she has done something (even if as minor as help set the table) successful or performed her duties well. She loves it!
6. CAUSE-EFFECT: Teach them that good brushing habits lead to lesser dentist visits, less pain, better smiles, and dreams! Let them know that they have the power to cause a positive effect. Explain the opposite too: how not brushing leads to more doctor visits and possible procedures that aren't fun.
Do not create FEAR of the doctor as fear reduces self-confidence, can turn into phobia and resistance to visit any doctor. Instead, explain with examples and pictures. If you know of children in your friend circle that have bad teeth and visit the dentist often, you can set that as a real life example.
My husband makes up stories telling her that once he did not brush well for several days and had to visit a dentist; it wasn't fun and since then he took great care of his teeth. Of course, if you make up a story, let them see for real that you do not visit the dentist often! ha ha !
7. STORIES: Use books and stories to encourage and inspire brushing habits.
- Brush, Brush, Brush! by Scholastic Inc.
- Brush Your Teeth, Please by McGuire, Leslie/ Pidgeon, Jean (Illustrator)
- I LOVE TO BRUSH MY TEETH by Shelley Admont
8. GARGLING: Make rinsing and gargling fun with funny sounds, funny faces and silly competitions like: Who can gargle 3 times faster? Who can make the funniest sound while gargling? Who can hold water in the mouth the longest? etc.
9. COMPLIMENT: "Wow, your teeth look shiny today, they are so white!" "Look at your smile, it is brilliant!" "Brushing makes our face so shiny and bright".
10. MAKE IT SPECIAL: Sometimes I draw funny doodles on the mirror, attach fun pictures near the sink, etc to lift her mood. Often she looks forward to see what will be awaiting her at the mirror. I also allow her to choose which rinsing glass to buy: she got her favorite character and color.
11. SLEEP TIME and ROUTINES: Get them ready for bed BEFORE they and YOU!! are over-tired. If they are exhausted, it is going to be a struggle to get them to finish the last chores. Keep a routine: e.g. You can't get your favorite breakfast or outing until you brush your teeth or allow them to choose their night clothes if they brush their teeth. If they don't, you get to choose their night clothes.
12. HANDLING PROCRASTINATION: There may be days when they completely rebel or resist brushing. Find out if there is some other frustration attached to it - are they exhausted, was it a long day, did something unpleasant happen at home or school. Resistance can be a SYMPTOM of underlying emotional trouble.
On the other hand, my husband and I find this working for us: The day she doesn't agree to brush, we jump and dance with joy saying - "Yes, today my teeth will be shinier than yours!!!" This is enough to get her jump out of her bed or any activity and be ready to be the 1st to get her teeth sparkling!
Note that brushing is important for the gums as much as for the teeth. If milk teeth decay, the decay doesn't go away when they fall out - in fact, the decay creates weaker permanent teeth. Hence, dental health is necessary from infancy. If your child continues to resist, you may have consequences like they don't get to choose their clothes or breakfast for that day, you choose it for them or that they skip their bedtime story routine. Remember disciplining is not about punishing or being unpleasant to the child in ANY way.
You can print the picture and allow your child to color it.
Picture taken from Google Images.