It’s no secret that it can be a struggle to get children to willingly brush their teeth after meals and before bedtime. At Pavlik Orthodontics, we receive questions daily from worried parents who are concerned about their children’s future oral health suffering as a result of their resistance to brushing regularly. Most kids don’t actively want to brush their teeth, much like they don’t want to eat their veggies, take a bath, or get to bed on time. Nevertheless, these are all necessary habits for them to learn in order to have their best life in the future. So, how can you end the daily battles and get your children to brush on their own? Follow these simple tips from the experts at Pavlik!
- Purchase Fun Toothbrushes
Get your child a cool toothbrush that he or she is excited to use and can’t wait to try out. There are plenty of children’s toothbrushes on the market that feature the latest Disney characters, race cars, TV stars, and more. Make it a special treat for your kids to accompany you to the store and pick out the toothbrushes they like best. They won’t be able to wait to get home and use them!
- Make a Game Out of Brushing
Remember the line from Mary Poppins? “In every job that must be done there is an element of fun. Find the fun and *snap*, the job’s a game!” Turns out it’s great advice. All you need is a little fun to make dental health seem appealing to your kids. A simple “I bet I can beat you into the bathroom to brush our teeth!” can get your children excited to brush their teeth.
- Create a Reward System
No, we aren’t suggesting that you should pay your kids to brush! However, setting up a system of simple rewards for good oral health behaviors can be an effective way to convince stubborn children to brush without being asked. Maybe your child gets to stay up an extra 15 or 30 minutes if he flosses and brushes his teeth before bed. Or, a week of consistent brushing could be rewarded with a toy or other small prize. The reward itself is up to you, but coming up with an incentive for kids to brush is a trick that’s definitely worth a try.
- Compliment Your Kids
Sometimes all it takes is a little praise to get kids excited about a task. Using positive phrasing and expressing pride and pleasure when your child brushes without making a fuss will reinforce the behavior and encourage kids to brush without being asked. After all, kids typically want their parents to be impressed by what they do!
- Brush Your Teeth Along with Your Child
When all else fails, make an effort to lead by example! This is a tried and true tip that seems to work every time. Your kids naturally look up to you and want to be like you, so why not take advantage of it? Spend some quality time with your children and show them the benefits of a bright, healthy smile. Your children will follow suit and develop great oral care habits all on their own.