How to Make Tooth Brushing a Regular Habit for Kids
When your kids are little, you take care of their regular hygiene, such as bathing them, combing their hair, and brushing their teeth. But you can’t perform these tasks for them forever. Eventually, your child will need to learn how to be responsible for their own hygiene. It will take some time and supervision, but your child should be ready to start taking on these tasks around age 6. Here are some tips for how to help your child establish a regular tooth brushing habit.
Make It Enjoyable
Rather than creating negative associations around tooth brushing for your child, help make it an enjoyable experience. Make up a story where your child is the superhero and the bacteria in their mouth are the villains that your child must conquer. Let your child pick out their own fun toothbrush. Crank on their favorite song while they brush. Bring their favorite doll or stuffed toy along to watch. Brush together as a family. And be sure to praise their sincere efforts. All these things help your child identify toothbrushing in a positive light.
Kids thrive in a consistent environment where they have a routine and know what to expect. Brushing and flossing each morning and every night should be a part of their daily routines so that eventually they don't even have to think about doing it - it's just something they do. If you haven’t been consistent up to this point, no worries. You can start now. Work morning and evening brushing into your child’s daily schedule for a couple of months before allowing them to start doing it on their own.
Create a Reward Chart
As your child begins brushing independently, set up a reward chart. Include both morning and evening brushing on the chart and make it colorful and fun! Give your child a sticker every time they remember to brush on their own. It might seem small, but it helps a lot if you let your child choose the sticker and put it on the chart themselves. When the chart is filled, you can reward them with something that is meaningful to them. It could be a special day with Mom or Dad, a new book, or a small toy—whatever motivates your child.
With the proper modeling, consistency, and a positive environment, your child will amaze you at how responsible they can be about caring for their own personal hygiene. Follow these simple steps and your child will have brushing and flossing down in no time!
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