Parents find it rather difficult to brush their toddler’s teeth. Toddlers may have sore mouths because their teeth are still coming in. And having someone put something in their mouth and move it around can be a bit scary, or at least uncomfortable. Although this is challenging for parents, it’s still important to keep their teeth clean for good oral health.
Here are 8 tips to make teeth brushing more fun for both you and your child:
1. Play “copycat”
Since kids enjoy learning by copying us, brush your teeth together while looking in the mirror. Let your child watch how you brush your teeth. Try to show your child that it’s a pleasant experience.
2. Make it a team effort
Take turns brushing each other’s teeth. This is the stage where your child starts to understand the idea of taking turns. You can say “It’s your turn to brush Mommy.” Let your child brush your teeth and then switch.
3. Make it fun
Pretend to get rid of the “sugar bugs.” Sing songs. Ask your child to “roar” so she opens her mouth wide when you’re brushing her back teeth.
4. Use a doll or hand puppet to brush your child’s teeth
Your child may be more open to a favorite doll brushing her teeth. A hand puppet is a little easier but you want to use something your child is familiar and comfortable with.
5. Keep it short
Don’t force your child to brush. You want to create a positive experience. If you only get him to brush for a few seconds, accept that and try again the following day.
6. Let your child choose a toothbrush
Bring them to the store and let them choose their own toothbrush. Help them choose a fun toothbrush. I have found battery-powered toothbrushes to not only be quite effective, but also fun for toddlers to use.
7. Offer toothpaste choices
Sometimes you’ll find that your toddler doesn’t care for the taste of your toothpaste. Thankfully, there are many kid-friendly choices available. Let your child choose a flavor she would like, such as strawberry, orange, or cinnamon.
8. Make it a routine
Kids thrive on routines. If your child knows that he has to brush his teeth when he wakes up and again at bedtime, he’ll come to expect it as part of his daily routine and there will be fewer power struggles.