Sometimes children just do not want to take part in routine activities, like brushing their hair, getting dressed, having a bath or BRUSHING their teeth! Why would they want to give up playtime to do something that is not at all fun for them?
Let’s start with brushing their teeth.
Though getting your child to brush their teeth may seem like a daily battle it doesn’t have to be.
These tips not only make brushing teeth a lot easier, but it also helps to create a fun and healthy habit for the future.
1. Brush together
Children generally love following what adults do. You see little boys pretending to shave in the mirror, and children dressing up like their parents when they go to work. Brushing teeth is usually no exception. Show your child how you brush your teeth and watch them follow you. You may even let them brush your teeth, while you brush theirs to make sure all their teeth get brushed.
2. Let your child choose their toothbrush
Get your child involved in the choice of toothbrush – of course keeping it the correct size for your child (it helps to let them choose one from a few that you have already narrowed down). Let them choose the colour and design. You can even put some stickers on it if they like.
3. Use songs and music
You can start by singing “This is the way we brush our teeth” before going into the bathroom to brush their teeth. This allows your child to be mentally prepared that they are going to brush their teeth. You can even play some music in the bathroom that lasts 2 minutes during the time they are brushing their teeth dance along to the music, it should make the time pass more quickly.
4. Play games
Ideally, children should brush their teeth for 2 minutes. With the short attention spans, two minutes is “forever” in “kids time”. Most children only last 3 to 5 minutes on activities that they actually enjoy! Some games include letting your child brush their teddy’s teeth before they brush their own. Or counting the teeth as the children brush “we’re brushing number one…. we’re brushing number two…” Games can even include friendly competitions between siblings, or between parents and children – e.g. who can brush continuously until the end of a song.
5. Brushing teeth need not always be at the sink.
If your child has a regular bathtime that falls when they can brush their teeth, let them brush their teeth in the bath or the shower.
6. Reward your child
Simple rewards. Such as an extra bedtime story or a sticker on a chart for brushing their teeth well can motivate children. These small rewards also encourage children to look forward to the next brushing session.