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Hello parents! In this post I'll be sharing our teeth brushing routine with my 3.5 year old, Chase!
After years of repetition, he now understands we must brush our teeth after breakfast (he doesn't enjoy the taste of breakfast if I brush it before), sometimes after lunch or if he had a sweet treat, and definitely before bed. We make sure he brushes all his teeth, tongue, and ends with a mouth wash gargle! He will floss here and there as well.
It takes a lot of patience for us parents. I have some miserable memories as a kid when all I wanted to do was sleep nice and cozy on my bed, but my dad would prop me up on the sink and brush my teeth. Here are some tips that got us through and to this point of routine.
After a full day of activities and a big dinner, we wind down around 6:15 with a warm bath. While he’s in the tub, I’ll often brush his teeth there. While children are still young, brushing teeth in the bathtub is convenient as brushing at the sink almost always ends up in a mess of toothpaste everywhere and wet PJs.
When he tells us he is full, we go to brush his teeth straight away before the food coma kicks in. When I have to choose, I'd rather spend my energy on brushing his teeth over taking a bath. It's something I never ever want to skip - if he falls asleep, I’ll even dry brush his teeth in bed. Since brushing our children’s teeth is challenging for most of us parents, I recommend the Disney Magic Timer App! I think an app is a better alternative to YouTube videos since it’s not tempting for your kids to click on a new video, and the app is personalized along with a reward system. If you prefer to try methods without using screens, I've listed below some tricks that have worked for us! Regardless of your method, reward them with positive reinforcement after a good brush and gargle with, "You did a GREAT job! Every day you will get better and stronger! Your smile looks great and your teeth are so shiny!" *high five* To maintain their healthy teeth and body, try to avoid sugary foods.
Here are some suggestions and my personal tips that have worked for me to get Chase to brush his teeth:
First of all, try your best to MAKE IT FUN, and not give them negative associations. In general, make parenting fun - you will have a higher success rate of them cooperating with you!
Don't worry, it's not too late to get creative!
Before we get silly, explain to them why we brush our teeth. I make Chase open his mouth in front of a mirror, or take a close up photo to show him the food in his teeth. You can teach your little ones about the "bugs" (bacteria) that rot their beautiful little teeth, and how to sweep them all out! I also showed him a video of a kid with a cavity at the dentist getting their tooth pulled (she sat through it very nicely without a tantrum) to explain to him that this is a real deal.
- To begin, pick out a toothbrush and toothpaste together to make it exciting. You can choose their favorite characters. Don't forget to see if they prefer an electric toothbrush as many kids do.
- Teach or "show" a toy how to brush your teeth. In return, you can teach your child to be proud of knowing how to brush their teeth well.
- Try brushing each other's teeth. They will be so distracted having fun brushing your teeth, they won't even notice you brushing theirs. When you ask them to open up and say, "Ahhh", they will automatically keep their mouth open!
- Similarly, you can take turns. "I brush your teeth, you brush mine!"
- Start by asking, "do you brush your... nose?!" (or cheeks, forehead, etc.) and they will respond with a big "NoOOo". Have them show you that brushing is for teeth!
- You can entertain them during the duration of the brush with a special song, a story, or even ridiculous jibberish sounds. This will take their mind off the brushing and concentrate on you.
- We count on each side in every language we can count to ten in. For example, English, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, French, Spanish, Japanese. If he seems up for brushing longer, I'll either repeat or even count in jibberish and he has a blast. I probably use this technique the most. I like this method because it makes them get used to a long and thorough brush.
- Encourage them during their brushing with the progress they are making. "I see 10 out of 20 shiny teeth!". They will get determined to get all 20 teeth shiny.
- Start with a little friendly competition to make it exciting. Have a race to see who can get started and finishing brushing every tooth!
- Challenge them to prove you wrong. "I don't know if you know how to brush your teeth. Are you surrrrre you know how to?", or "Hey Big kid! Can you show me that you know how to brush your teeth?"
- "I'm going to Tickle your teeth!" Give them the brush after to try.
You can follow up with, "now that you brushed your teeth, we can (have story time)!"
That's our routine! Please share how you do yours and any tips from your family are welcome!
This post was sponsored by Crest & Oral B, and we're proud to support their new Star Wars line because we are big fans! We have Star Wars characters all over the home. In fact, Chase is already a fan of BB-8 so he was stoked that his toothpaste and toothbrush have the matching BB-8 character on it. It's exciting as parents to watch Chase grow up and become so independent!