Brushing your toddlers teeth might be a nightmare if the kids doesn’t want to and just clamps those jaws shut, you yelling and everyone crying.
Well, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Let me give you some advice, as the creator of Brush My Teeth – an app that helps parents brush their kids teeth (available for iPhone and iPad as well as Android) . I think a lot about how to make brushing time an easier experience for kids and parents alike.
These are a few hacks I’ve been using to have my toddlers and later on kids start finding toothbrushing a funnier thing to do.
Here we go:
1. A tip for parents with tiny children: be sure to start early. Let the child be there when you brush your teeth already when the child is a few months. Make sure that it becomes a habit to always brush your teeth before going to bed and after breakfast – whether they have teeth or not. Give the kid a small toothbrush of his own to chew on and brush with while you brush your teeth. Children learn, as we know, by imitating adults.
2. Try a different toothpaste! Buy another toothpaste children and have two at home. Let the child choose what you should use. “You want Micky Mouse or IronMan toothpaste tonight?” Kids say they get to take far too few decisions. Oh and you can evaluate the toothpaste during brushing. “Does this feel as smooth as the one we used yesterday?”
3. Count how many teeth you find while you brush. I usually start modestly and find about three (which my 3 year old understands that he certainly has more than) and then I’m surprised that I find a fourth tooth. And a fifth. And then count rapidly up to twenty. And, twenty one. And two, and three and then quickly up to thirty. But that’s enough. Until I find another one. And another. Yes, you might get the drift here. If you time this right you will land on the 60:th tooth right at the minute mark! If you want to reach 120, you get going again!
4. Talk about the day! The thing here is to keep the child focused on something other than how boring it is to stand and gape in 60 seconds. Start with “Well … I thought of one thing … You were at nursery school today right?” as a result you will certainly get a “Yes?” and BAM! You have just completed 50% of tooth brushing time. Then just to continue in the same style and you will soon be finished and the child will barely notice that you started brushing.
5. Get an extra toothbrush. Let the kid choose what brush or make it a surprise. Or maybe give your kid luxury of brushing half mouth with one toothbrush and the other half with another brush. For one evening anyway.
6. Is it really clean? This is a parental classics, with a mini twist. When its brushing time, check if the kids teeth look clean and then “OMG! I got to brush these, because indeed I see … potatoes on molars, and yeah, there are couple of peas wedged firmly between the front teeth. And … Is that spaghetti around the soft palate?!”
7. Let your child brush your teeth while you brush your kids. Children are often extremely good at a whole lot of things. Take advantage of that! Let the kid brush his own teeth, look in the mirror and all of that. But afterwards you have to check that they’re clean and do the final clean up.
8. If it starts to get tricky to gain access to the child’s mouth: Change the place! “This evening we brush teeth in the kitchen!” Or “I just found out that we should brush your teeth while we listen to Elvis covers while brushing.” Or “Did you think we were going to brush teeth in the bathroom? ! It’s brushing while lying-in-bed today! ”
9. YouTube is filled with videos that help parents brush their teeth on their children. Make sure the “autoplay” feature is disabled only, otherwise there could be a very long brushing session indeed. LMGTFO
10. Let your child choose the brushing entertainment it will be on this particular evening. 1. Are you going to sing a song about brushing? 2. Are you going to tell a story about brushing? 3. Should you brush your teeth with your eyes closed, standing on one leg singing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star?
Lastly. Kids have good days and bad days. Sometimes there’s just hell to pay before you get those molars clean. But if you just don’t give up and try these 10 tips I bet you’ll have a clean toothed kid and a happier brush life!