You know how important it is for your children to brush their teeth, but that doesn’t mean they do. Chances are, if it isn’t fun, they’re going to fight you every time you tell them it’s time to head to the bathroom and pick up that toothbrush.
Not sure how to make brushing fun for your little ones? Here are six tips designed to help you make brushing something children want to do, not something they have to do.
1. Grab a favorite stuffed animal. If your 8-year-old is giving you a hard time about brushing, get his or her favorite stuffed animal involved. Use this special toy to show Tommy or Susie why brushing is so important. Once your child has finished brushing, have him or her brush the toy’s teeth. If a stuffed animal isn’t an option, dolls or action figures work great too.
2. Use a timer. Make it a game by timing your child every time he or she brushes. You can use an hourglass or an egg timer, but if you want to make it really fun, try the Tooth Timer. This timer is shaped like a tooth and counts down from two minutes—the amount of time everyone should brush.
3. Buy a fun toothbrush. There are plenty of toothbrush options out there, and many of them feature popular characters, songs and even timers. Make it a big deal to pick out a toothbrush with your child, and encourage him or her to find one that features a favorite character. Not only does this help involve them in the process, a character-themed toothbrush will help make brushing something your child actually looks forward to.
4. Make it a family event. Show your child just how fun brushing can be by brushing together. As you brush, break it down into steps so your child sees exactly how it works, from wetting the toothbrush to putting the toothpaste on the toothbrush to brushing certain areas. Take the lead today, then let your child lead brushing activities tomorrow.
Want to make this even more fun? Make silly faces in the mirror and use funny brush strokes as you clean those pearly whites.
5. Try a water fountain. How cool would it be to brush your teeth over a water fountain every day? Putting in a water fountain type faucet could be just what you need to get your child excited about brushing.
6. Give out rewards. Rewarding your child for his or her brushing efforts serves as motivation to keep doing it. Not sure the best reward? Stay away from candy or other sweet treats, and try stickers instead. Get a form and then give your child a sticker to add to it every time he or she finishes brushing.
If we can get children excited about brushing their teeth from a young age, they’ll develop good oral health habits that they’ll carry with them throughout adulthood. If your child just isn’t all that into brushing right now, you have to find ways to make it fun.
Follow these tips and you’ll notice a huge difference in how your child feels about brushing, and you might even find him or her asking you if it’s time to brush yet.