Raising kids is an incredible amount of work, and one of the most rewarding and joyful experiences a person can have. We know there are many things we teach our kids that will help them grow and serve them greatly their entire lives: how to eat well, useful skills around the house, and proper hygiene are just a few examples. It can be a challenge to help kids see the benefit in many things that feel routine or like a chore, but it’s worth the persistence.
Being able to teach your kids the importance of good oral hygiene certainly falls in this category. We have worked with all types of parents and kids struggling to establish a healthy dental care routine, and found a few different ways to help both you and your kids.
Know They’re Watching You
Kids will naturally latch onto whatever it is their parents are doing and make it their goal to do the same. If you are able to adjust your teeth cleaning routine to match the schedule you want your kids on, it will seem natural to your kids and capitalize on their inclination to be just like mom or dad. Children are also notable helpers and love finding ways to help you throughout the day. If they are interested in helping you brush your teeth, use that opportunity to make an easy game out of brushing each other’s teeth.
Have Fun With It
Trying to force things on your kids will usually backfire, so take their input and let them have some fun with their oral care. You should be able to find a toothbrush that’s either their favorite color or features a cartoon character, animal, or other favorite toy as part of the design. Many toothpastes designed specifically for kids are naturally sweetened or lightly flavored, which will certainly help them be more willing to brush regularly.
Use Your Creativity
There are many different ways to bring some creativity to the brushing routine. Make a game between you and your kids over who can do a better job brushing, make brushing a time they can listen to a favorite song, or have them practice skills such as reciting the alphabet or counting while they watch you brush. If you’re feeling extra creative, you can craft a unique, fun story to tell the kids about why brushing well is important.
Putting a reward system in place can really help encourage your kids to maintain good habits over time. The rewards can be very basic. Rewarding your kids with 10 bonus minutes of play before bedtime for a good day of brushing and cleaning. Some parents are able to lump oral care into other healthy habit routines and set an incentive for weeks or a month of sticking to a plan.
We never recommend using your dentist as a form of punishment. We want your kids to be comfortable visiting us as part of their routine, but we can help! Our team has specialized experience talking with parents and kids about the importance of a healthy mouth. We take pride in helping your kids feel proud of their bright, clean smiles. If you want to talk more about how to encourage healthy oral habits, contact us today!