Terri P.'s son love to brush his teeth, or at least to mimic the gesture. But his mom says that he really just likes to eat the toothpaste. She usually has to intervene to make sure the job actually gets done. And she's not the only one; many parents find that teaching their little ones to brush their teeth every day, and to do it thoroughly, can veer on downright impossible. Luckily, Circle of Moms members have shared some excellent tips for getting past a toddler's or preschooler's resistance.
1. Model Teeth Brushing for Your Child
Elise C. reports that her daughter is getting good at mimicking her behavior, so in the teeth-brushing department she's had a lot of success modeling the behavior. They brush their teeth together, and her daughter watches for pointers. Then Elise brushes her daughter's teeth again, to make sure they've done a thorough job.
2. Brush Each Others' Teeth
Kimberly P.'s son was cooperative when she brushed his teeth as a baby, but no more. She now has to distract him by allowing him to "brush" her teeth while she brushes his. It's a bit of a struggle, and time-consuming, but it works.
3. Make it Fun: Bathtub Brushing, Races, and Songs
An ingenious idea comes from Jamie S., who brushes her son's teeth in the bathtub. Since he loves being in the bath, and he enjoys getting clean and helping to groom himself, it's a brilliant idea. He even smiles to let his mom see that his teeth are clean. Jacqueline V. tells her son it's a race, and he loves to compete with her to see who finishes first.
Other parents enlist dolls and toys in the effort. Jennifer P. keeps a spare brush around so her daughter can brush her toys' teeth. Erika likes to make a game of it, and even has a little song, below, which she sings to her son while he brushes to keep him at it longer.
The Toothbrush Song
(to the tune of "Row,Row, Row Your Boat")
Brush, brush, brush your teeth
Brush them everyday.
We put toothpaste on our brush
To help stop tooth decay.
Floss, floss, floss your teeth.
Floss them every day!
Using the string to clean between
Keeps the plaque away!
Clean, clean, clean your teeth.
Clean them every day!
Your teeth will sparkle for years to come
In the most beautiful way!
Brush, brush, brush your teeth.
Brush them every day!
Happy, healthy teeth you'll have
If it's done this way.
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