For most kids, their idea of a good time does not include anything related to brushing teeth or flossing. Many of them find these tasks tedious, boring, or uncomfortable. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to have fun while maintaining a beautifully healthy smile.
If your kids are having difficulty getting into a stable routine with their dental hygiene, then you may want to consider some of the following suggestions.
If you need even more advice on how to keep your children engaged in their oral health, contact us at Hampton’s Dental! We are a family dentistry with experience serving children of all ages. We understand that teaching kids to brush their teeth and floss regularly is challenging, but we know it is not impossible. Try out these tips, then contact us for more solutions.
1. Play a Song While Brushing Teeth
Kids have a very short attention span. As a result, the recommended two minutes of teeth brushing twice a day can feel like an eternity. Many adults don’t even brush for the correct amount of time either. Instead of just standing in silence while brushing, try playing a song that is two minutes long. With this technique, kids can easily understand that they need to brush for as long as the song is playing. They can also have a mini dance party while establishing good habits. The more fun you can make brushing your teeth, the more likely that kids will be to do it.
2. Make Trips to the Dentist a Special Occasion
For many kids, going to the dentist can be scary, boring, or just plain terrifying. To combat this and instil the importance of regularly visiting the dentist, try making appointments out to be something special. Make the dentist part of an all-day event. You could go out to breakfast or lunch or take a trip to the museum or the zoo.
It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as your child realizes that the day is going to be unlike normal. While these suggestions may not be possible during the school year unless during the weekend, try to find at least something small that will make your child happy.
3. Use Positive Reinforcement
Psychology studies have shown that positive reinforcement forms consistent habits in children. While there are about a million ways you could go about this, a sticker chart is a great one to start with. The basic concept is that you give your child a sticker every time that they exhibit positive behaviour. After they accumulate a certain number of stickers, they can exchange them for some sort of prize at your discretion.
The only drawback to this method is that your child might stop exhibiting good behaviour once you remove the reward. That’s why it’s important to keep up the reward system until they don’t need it any longer.
4. Make Dental Hygiene a Time for Family Bonding
“Monkey see, monkey do” is more than just a cute phrase. It is a truth that many parents realize first-hand. Your child will be much more likely to want to do something if they see you do it first. This concept goes for just about anything, dental hygiene included. If you brush your teeth with your children, they will understand how important it is. They’ll look at taking care of dental health as a grown-up thing to be a part of and want to participate.
If children establish positive dental hygiene habits from a young age, they will be much more likely to keep them up throughout their lives. As a parent, it is your job to encourage healthy habits to help set your children up for success.