Kids pick up on things pretty quickly, but that doesn’t mean it’s always a walk in the park teaching them good habits. Many kids hate brushing their teeth, which means it’s up to you to come up with a way to make dental hygiene fun for kids.
Luckily, you have several tips and tricks at your fingertips that you can utilize to make brushing fun for your children.
Tips on Teaching Proper Dental Hygiene
Teaching your kids how to take care of their teeth might be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be painful. Several creative strategies can teach your kids about brushing and flossing in a fun way. With your supervision, you can be sure your children clean their teeth effectively and enjoy every moment of it.
1. Play Music
If your child loves music, buying them a musical toothbrush might be in your best interest. Several toothbrushes play music for 2 minutes so your child can brush along to the song. By gifting your child one of these toothbrushes, you make the habit of brushing fun, as the children get to dance and sing to music as they’re taking care of their teeth.
Alternatively, you can use a speaker or your phone to play a specific song for your child. Plenty of songs online are explicitly designed to teach children how long to brush their teeth. You can also time this with a regular theme. Having a designated starting and stopping point, like in the form of a song, lets your child know what to expect and begin to adjust to their routine.
2. Consume Healthy Media
Books and interactive videos can teach your kids worthwhile brushing habits if you’ve run out of ideas. By using other forms of media to teach your child more about brushing, you’re taking some of the work off yourself and giving your children the opportunity to learn good habits from someone who isn’t their parent.
Children love learning new things when presented in a fun way. As you get your young children used to brushing their teeth for the first time, some positive reinforcement in the form of a favorite character talking about dental hygiene can go a long way.
3. Brush as a Family
Another option for your children to learn to brush their teeth is by mimicking you. You can be a model for good brushing behavior. You can teach your children the proper way to brush and floss by just demonstrating it for them. When they attempt it on their own, you should notice their positive behaviors and verbally express what a good job they’ve done so they will pick up on good habits more easily.
You can complete your routine tooth care as a family. Brushing your teeth together in the morning and at night will give your child something to look forward to with their family. They may even start to consider dental hygiene fun!
4. Make Dental Appointments
Keep a benchmark on your child’s dental health by introducing them to a friendly dentist who will also teach them about their teeth. Having a professional teach your child how important it is to brush can reinforce that they need to take care of their teeth to avoid certain conditions.
For example, if left untreated, gum disease can lead to ailments like heart disease and cancer. Explaining the dangers to your children without scaring them can be difficult, so a dentist should be able to impart that information to them in an understanding way.
5. Reward Their Efforts
Good brushing habits should be met with rewards. Teach children the proper amount of time to brush their teeth effectively, and give them a small reward once they do it satisfactorily.
Opt for stickers or a healthy snack instead of unhealthy, sugary sweets as a treat for brushing teeth correctly. For one, this negates the whole purpose of brushing beforehand, but it also might reinforce the idea in a child’s mind that sugary snacks are more important or valuable than healthy foods.
Brushing Habits Grow With Kids
Once you teach your children how to brush their teeth effectively, you have to keep positively reinforcing their behavior. Once they realize they’re supposed to brush for their health and don’t need an extra reward, you can ease up on the positive affirmation.
The habits you set your children up with at a young age will follow them into adulthood. Children who never learned how to brush their teeth the correct way may run into issues regarding their dental health as adults and may even be more predisposed to certain ailments, like gum disease. Teach your child how to take care of themselves young, and they’ll follow the habit for the rest of their life.