One of the earliest ways that your child gets a little taste of independence is by learning to brush their own teeth. Since this is an important lifelong habit, it’s crucial to establish good brushing habits from an early age, so that they understand and grasp good dental health. However, it can be a difficult thing to both get kids enthused about brushing, and to teach them how to do it properly. As a parent, it’s good to have a few tricks up your sleeve. We’ve outlined a few of these for you, so that you can engrain good dental habits in your kids, without too much struggle.
A great way to encourage kids to follow good behaviors is to empower them, and give them some independence. This can come through things like letting them pick their own color of toothbrush or flavor of toothpaste, thus making the brushing experience their own, and help tilt the needle closer to enthusiasm than avoidance. You can also make them feel more like a peer by making brushing a family activity, and encouraging them to remind you when it’s time to brush your teeth.
Make It Fun
Kids love games of any kind, so whatever you can do to make brushing seem more like a game than a chore will pay dividends in the long run. There are several ways to create a game from brushing, so use your creativity to adjust these for whatever suits your child.
- Set a timer for two minutes and get your child to always try and brush until the end of the timer, sort of like an endurance competition. If your child is up to it, you can also get them to see if they can count to 120 in their head while brushing, to get the proper cleaning without the timer.
- Have a ‘cleanliness contest’ with your child, and compare your teeth before and after you brush. By awarding your child a victory when they brush well, you can help instill an understanding of what proper brushing technique and time are, without it seeming like a lecture from mom or dad.
A reward system is probably the best incentive system for getting your child to brush on their own, because you can substitute good dental habits for something that appeals more to them. Whether it’s small rewards for each good brushing session, or a bigger prize for two weeks straight of good brushing, this is a great way to get good brushing habits off the ground. From there, you can slowly remove the extrinsic rewards, and get them to feel good about maintaining their dental health as they grow up.
Plancich Dental is Tacoma’s holistic family dental practice, and we’re here to support you in getting your children to establish good brushing habits. Contact us today to make an appointment for you or your family!