By experience we all know that bedtime is not the easiest time in our day because everything happens at the same time- yes, it is CRUNCH TIME, and we must be SUPER efficient - don't we? One thing that can help us to make this crunch time a fun one, especially for the kids so that they don't fight back, is to teach them to brush their teeth in a fun and entertaining manner. Although the recommended time is only 2 minutes we know that it seems like a 15-minute struggle. We've been there - almost every day. But, hey, there is always a good approach to things. Here are some tips, tricks and games we can do with our kids to have an enjoyable bedtime task to teach them good oral hygiene. One of the benefits of making it fun is that kids will not usually not fight it back when told to brush their teeth (hopefully :-] ).
One thing to keep in mind is that children learn to brush their teeth by ages 4 or 5, but they need your supervision until about 7. Your example and support are key to mastering this skill and maintaining a good oral hygiene.
1. Because we need to set the example, allow your kids to watch you when brushing your teeth. Then, let him try to brush your teeth, and make funny faces. Your kid will absolutely love it!
2. Allow him to put the toothpaste on your brush, then you do the same on his and/or take turns, and show him how to brush softly his teeth and gums.
3. Sing or play fun music while brushing his teeth. I personally sing to my kids a song I made up especially for teeth brushing time which includes the following key words: top, bottom, left, right, to the back, to the front, catch the running candy bugs, brush, brush, brush, brush...I have been doing this for a long time so when I don't sing (because I am exhausted), they demand it and they move their little bodies to its melody that you must also make up.
4. Use a timer and set it to go off when 2 minutes have gone by. This way your kid will know he's done and needs to rinse.
5. For older kids, get them electrical brushes of their favorite heroes - they will have fun with them.
6. If they still fight you back, always keep handy a story to tell him of a made up kid whose teeth fell off because of poor oral hygiene. Although the idea here is not to scare them, they will react to and act on it because nobody likes their teeth to fall off.
7. Explain to them that teeth are brushed in the morning and at bedtime. There is really no need to give them a long explanation they will tuned out of, just "it is time to get the candy bugs out!"
8. Ask your dentist to tell your child about good oral hygiene in his next appointment. Sometimes, children tend to listen more to the opinion of an expert or someone else other than the parents - sad but true!
The idea is that one day, this will happen - see picture below.
Wouldn't you love that? They telling us "Mom your teeth need more brushing and flossing!" - that is the goal!
Be their model and don't forget to teach teach them how to floss their teeth (usually when they get a little bit older). Also, give them fluoride rinse, especially if they drink mostly bottled water.
Healthy teeth is a healthy smile!
- The Moms' Buzz