Let’s face it, kids are not the cleanest critters in the world. They actively seek out mud puddles to splash around in, avoid bath time at all costs, and worst of all, they rarely brush their teeth without a parental reminder. So, as a parent, how do you teach your kids good oral hygiene habits that they will willing follow? The number one thing that kids (and let’s be honest, adults too) love to do is have fun.
Can brushing your teeth be fun? You betcha, and here is how:
Kids Love Television
Everyone’s heard the phrase “tv rots your brain,” but in this case, allowing your kids to watch certain programs are actually beneficial in many ways. These days, shows are geared towards helping children learn important life lessons, in fun and exciting ways. If you child has a passion for Doc McStuffins, Spongebob Squarepants, or any other lovable character, most likely there are online games that are specific to teaching kids how to do things, such as brushing their teeth. If Spongebob has a flare for fighting cavities, your kids will be more willing to destroy harmful bacteria, too.
There is no fighting the digital world. Technology is here to stay, so take advantage of it while teaching your little ones the importance of oral hygiene. Jump online, find an interactive-brushing game, and watch your kids become enthusiastic about dental hygiene.
Whistle While You Work
The amount of time that a person, child or adult, should brush their teeth is a minimum of 2 minutes. Plenty of adults fall short in this area, so how will a youngster, who most likely is just learning the ins and outs of time, follow this important rule?
Find a song that they love, that’s at least 2 minutes long, and play it each time they brush their teeth. This will help teach them the concept of just how long they should be cleaning their chompers.
Choose Your Own Adventure
Sure, brushing your teeth can be a boring chore for a child, but perhaps a special Superman cape or a Luke Skywalker action figure can help them battle the monsters within their mouths (bacteria). A lightsaber toothbrush could be the perfect weapon in the great cavity war. Kids love a good story and allowing them to use their imagination to tackle the “tooth monsters” will make brushing interactive and fun, for you and them.
How About Some Friendly Competition?
Whether you have a gaggle of kids, two loving siblings, or trying to teach an only child, a little competition can motivate and encourage good dental habits. This could be as simple as having a goal chart and each time someone brushes their teeth (without being reminded), morning and night, they get a star. Whoever has the most stars at the end of the week receives a special prize. Maybe it is a small toy, a trip for ice cream, or popcorn and a movie of their choice. No matter the prize, competition is an incredible motivator, for kids and adults. This is a must-try method to help your little ones navigate the world of oral hygiene.
Be a Good Example
Ok, this one may not fall into the “fun” category as much as the others, but it is quite possibly the most important. Kids are extremely observant and will pick up on the habits of parents and older siblings, good or bad. When it comes to oral hygiene, “do as I say, not as I do” just doesn’t cut it. Make sure that your children see you brushing and flossing daily. If you have family breakfast, lunch, or dinner you can make brushing after meals a family affair. If they see that brushing is important to you, it will become important to them as well.
Habits don’t just happen overnight. The average amount of time to form a habit, if you are diligent, is an average of 21 days. With these creative ideas, you can help your kids create good oral hygiene habits that will last them throughout their lives. Remember, if you don’t do it, they won’t do it. For more “fun” ideas on how to teach your kids to brush, contact our office and our friendly staff will be happy to share their knowledge.