Developing a healthy habit is difficult, and getting your child to develop a good habit can be even more challenging. With something as important as oral hygiene, forming good habits at an early age is vital to preserve the child’s future dental health. While there is no magic method to that works with every child, there are several tried and true tricks that you might consider to get your child to brush.
Talk to The Dentist
One approach many parents take is to have a dentist or hygienist explain to their child the importance of brushing, and a visit to the dentist’s office is an important preventative measure anyway, and a good opportunity to train the child in proper brushing habits. Dentists and hygienists who regularly work with children have usually developed interesting and engaging ways to present the concept of good dental hygiene. Because these professionals are passionate about the subject, the child can sense and hopefully catch their enthusiasm.
Implement Teachings at Home
At home, it’s important to follow up on what your child has learned, and you can do this by staying with your child during each brushing time. A great way to help you remember is to place your toothbrush and floss next to your child’s, this will provide frequent opportunities for you to teach by example and to observe whether the child’s brushing technique is adequate. As you observe, compliment the child often and offer constructive advice occasionally, and supervision is recommended until the child is eight or nine years old.
Make it Fun
If your child isn’t brushing for a sufficient amount of time, you can try using a timing device such as a sand timer or kitchen timer, or singing a song to them or playing a short tooth-brushing game will make the time seem shorter. Giving your child a toothbrush featuring a favorite cartoon character, trying a different flavor of toothpaste, or using a battery-powered toothbrush are examples of tactics that may also help to increase the child’s interest and participation.
Rewards and Motivation
Many parents offer incentives to get their child to brush regularly, if the child puts a sticker on a chart, for example, until he or she reaches a predetermined goal to earn a reward. Examples of rewards could include a special trip to the park or zoo, a movie night, or an overnighter at a friend’s house. Choose something that motivates your child and keep the goals smaller at first, increasing gradually until your child has developed the habit and no longer needs the incentive. Consistency is the key.
Melisa Cammack is a mother of three boys, wife, freelance writer, and healthy-living enthusiast. She is currently writing on behalf of Dental Marketing, specializing in dental direct mail and 123Postcards advertising.