As a parent, there are certain things you want to teach your children, skills that they will carry with them into adulthood, things that will make life easier for them as they grow up. You teach them how to balance their bank account, how to make spaghetti, how to drive a car.
But are you teaching them how to care for their teeth?
It’s easy to get your kids excited about learning when there’s money involved, or food, or driving a car. It’s not so easy to get your kids excited about brushing their teeth. There’s just no clear pay off for them. Young children have no concept that they could lose their teeth if they do not take care of them. They simply have a hard time understanding long term rewards or consequences.
It is important that you find a way to get your kids excited about brushing and flossing while they are still young. Sure, you could just “make” them brush their teeth, but that would only work in the short term. You need to instill the value of brushing into them, so that it will be something they continue without your supervision as they get older. In other words, you need to make dental care fun for your kids. If you do that, they will always associate taking care of their teeth with good time, rather than a tedious chore.
At Alabama Family Dental, right here in Mobile, we want to help you keep your children’s smile healthy and bright. Here are some ideas for making brushing fun for you kids.
Read While They Brush
Every kid loves stories. As a matter of fact, you are probably already reading to your children every night. So, why not mix something mix something fun and exciting with something health and, well, not so exciting.
Read to your kids while they brush their teeth and a mundane routine will become the highlight of their night. For small children you can read something short, like Dr. Suess, or the poems of Shel Silverstein. For older children you can read a portion of something longer, like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, or Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Read a chapter while they brush, and they be the one’s reminding you it’s time to brush the next night because they know that’s the only way they’ll get to hear the next chapter of the story.
Play a Song
Music never fails to get things going. You can turn nightly dental care into a party by playing your kid’s favorite song while they brush and floss. They can brush in time with the music, so be sure to play an upbeat tune. This will also work as a good timer to make sure your kids are brushing long enough. Most pop songs are two or three minutes long, which is roughly how long they need to brush.
Just make sure the music doesn’t lead to dancing. It would be safe to have your kids bouncing around with toothbrushes in their mouths.
Making a game out of brushing is another way to get your children into taking care of their teeth. Simon says is perfect for this because it will give you the opportunity to instruct you kids on proper brushing techniques.
Simon says brush your front teeth. Simon says brush your tongue. Simon says brush your back teeth. Now spit! Ah-ha. I didn’t say Simon says.
Another fun game to play while brushing is to have your kids to pretend to be their favorite animal while they brush, so you can guess what animal they chose. Or you could choose the animal for them. Have them show you how an elephant brushes, or a flamingo flosses.
The sillier the game, the better. This will make brushing seem like much less of a chore and more of a good time.
A Family Who Brushes Together…
Whatever you do to get your kids excited about brushing, it will be much more effective if you do it along with them. When your children see how you take care of your teeth, they will follow suit. Healthy modeling is by far the best way to get your children to pick up healthy habits.
Don’t forget the importance of regular cleanings and examinations at Alabama Family Dental.
Contact us to schedule an appointment today.