Guest Contributor Darcy Fonner
It is important that young children learn to brush their teeth properly, but it does not have to be a chore! Find ways to make brushing time a fun experience for your child. Encourage your child to brush by choosing one or all of the 5 activities below.
1. Brush with your child! Show your child that brushing is easy and fun. Stand together in front of a mirror and let your child mimic your brushing techniques. You could even make a game out of brushing time by taking turns copying each other’s’ brushing techniques.
2. Buy a cute toothbrush and use fun, flavored toothpaste. Take your child to the store and let him/her select a favorite toothbrush. Find a toothbrush with your child’s favorite cartoon character. Make sure the brush is small and soft and has a good handle for holding. (Remember to replace toothbrushes every few months.) Choose flavored toothpaste or let your child choose his/her favorite flavor. You could even buy pump toothpaste to make it easier for your child to access.
3. Sing a silly song during brushing time. Instruct your child to continue brushing until the song is over, and then let your child sing while you brush your teeth. Sing “The Alphabet Song”, search the internet for an appropriate tooth brushing song or let your child pick his/her favorite song. If your child is creative, make your own tooth-brushing song by creating lyrics to sing to a familiar tune like “Old MacDonald” or “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.
4. Teach kids to brush every tooth in their mouth. Model for your child by counting the teeth as you brush them. “Tooth number one is clean! Tooth number two is clean! Tooth number three is clean! Tooth number four is clean!” This is fun for your child and also a wonderful way to practice counting by ones.
5. Make a tooth brushing chart. Hang the chart on the wall in the bathroom, bedroom or hallway. Use glittery stickers to mark every time your child brushes his/her teeth. Let your child select a sticker and put it on the poster. Plan rewards for when your child reaches a certain number of stickers in a row. For example, 10 stickers may be an extra half hour of TV time. At 20 stickers, your child may stay up 30 minutes later. Be creative and allow your child to help choose rewards.
Darcy fonner works as a Dental Hygienist for a Copperas Cove Texas dentist and is an expert in dental software from Dentrix.com. When she is not working she enjoys working in her garden and cooking for her family.