It Only Takes Two Minutes

Photo by Mitikusa, Flickr Creative Commons

The dentist says brushing should last two to three minutes – the same duration as a song – so why not play your child’s favorite song while he brushes his teeth? Along with fetching a stepping stool and squeezing out a pea-sized drop of toothpaste, booting up the MP3 player and doing a little dance can all be part of the brushing routine.

Singing may be a simpler, more traditional route. Some parents like to mix things up by making up their own songs, especially when the lyrics are goofy enough to get a laugh out of the foam-filled mouths. Here are some other ideas to help make brushing fun:

Tell a brushing story. Can’t sing? That’s okay, you can always talk. When your child is distracted by one of your tooth stories, the two minutes of brushing will be here and gone before she knows it. Try inventing stories of how your child’s favorite storybook characters, from Cinderella to Chicken Little, brush their teeth. Or bring them back to your own childhood days with stories of how you lost your first teeth, encounters with the tooth fairy, and other “memories.” Before you know it, the kids will look forward to brushing their teeth with you!

Use a rewards chart. You do it with homework and chores. For those children who can’t seem to get into the brushing routine, why not use a rewards chart as well? You can hang the chart up on the bathroom wall or store it away until you need it. The kids can help you draw the rows, decorate the border, and select stickers or stars for each day they’ve brushed two times. When the chart is all filled up, why not bring the kids to the store to buy some new toothbrushes or take a special trip to their favorite place?

Gather your props. Get everything your child needs to have a positive experience. Toothbrushes should have gentle bristles. Let your child choose between electric or standard, pink or blue, glitter or cartoon character. Toothpaste and even floss come in several mild flavor options. Find the ones that best suit your little one’s taste.

Have fun, too. Brush your teeth at the same time as your child. If you’re having fun, there’s a better chance that your child will enjoy the experience as well. You can even make a game of it, taking turns imitating the direction of the other’s brushing. If you still brush you child’s teeth, why not give him a chance to be in charge by brushing yours, too? It’s the perfect opportunity to demonstrate how easy it is to say “aaah” and smile while you brush!

Do you have some creative brushing routines that worked for your child? Share them with our readers by sending a comment below!

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