Once you have been blessed with a baby, your priorities change. Your life takes a back seat and any your child takes the centre stage. You make your child the be all and end all of your life, your schedule revolves around him, their smile puts you on top of the world, whilst their tears weigh you down with worries. It’s both tough and rewarding being a parent.
Early habits always determine an individual’s personality. Hence it is essential that your child gets their basic habits right, and dental care is one of them. Children do not become capable of cleaning their teeth properly until 7 years of age. Therefore, ensuring proper dental care for your tiny toddler could be quite a task. Even the most compliant and peaceful toddlers can stress out while brushing their teeth in the beginning.
Do not fret! Here are some useful tips as to how you could make their tooth brushing less stressful:
While making your child brush their teeth in the proper manner as well as regularly, taking your time is extremely crucial. Make him understand the importance of cleaning teeth, tongue and gums and what could happen if he would neglect dental hygiene. Be careful that you do not give these logical explanations at the time of tooth brushing so as not to distract from the practical task in hand.
Tell him stories, perhaps at bed time while he is relaxed that explain the importance of tooth care and what could happen if it is neglected. There are a few good clips that can be found online if you think this may also be a good way of engaging your toddler.
Choose A Tooth Brush Which Is Toddler Friendly
An important factor that determines the interest of a toddler in brushing their teeth is the kind of toothbrush they are getting to use. A toothbrush that feels uncomfortable in a child’s mouth is a sure fire way to turn them off and avoid the brushing time. The bristles of the toothbrush should be soft, handle should have proper curves for your child to place their thumb and fingers. Also, buy a toothbrush of their choice of color, or with the head of his favorite cartoon character. All this will keep interest levels intact.
Make Tooth Brushing Exciting
Toddlers adore something exciting and playful to look forward to everyday. So try to make the daily task of tooth brushing fun and exciting for him. You can hang a puppet or a toy which is brushing his teeth happily in the bathroom or just in front of the wash basin. Your little toddler will love to wake up to this fun element everyday and this would also act as a subtle motivational source. A slightly more calm distraction at bed time might be a good idea though, perhaps a music box or lullaby song.
Choosing an electrical toothbrush for your toddler is also an exciting way to make his tooth brushing less stressful. A lot of such toothbrushes are available quite cheaply in every-day stores.
Set An Example For Your Toddler
A brilliant way to make your lovely toddler adopt healthy habits is to be a good role model. Remember, children dislike following instructions but absolutely love observing and mimicking. So, set an example before by taking excellent care of your teeth and other habits for that matter and show them that it doesn’t have to be a chore, it can be an enjoyable thing. Don’t be sloppy or lazy in front when brushing your teeth in front of your kids, no matter how tired you are. Never let him skip tooth brushing, especially at night when you yourself have grown exhausted. Brush and floss your teeth and clean your tongue twice a day, especially in front of him. Very soon, you would notice that your child will start taking responsibility of his own dental hygiene.
Tooth Brushing Could Be Rewarding
Initially your toddler could fuss over the entire ritual of brushing his teeth. Therefore, to maintain interest in this activity daily, you could keep small rewards on hand. Give them colorful, shining stickers or prepare a smiling sandwich or whatever they relish the most, for breakfast, after every successful tooth cleaning session.
Set Musical Targets
Now this tip is slightly different, and not many parents use it. However, once you try it, chances are that it will reduce your and the toddler’s stress big time during tooth brushing. Play some nice, fun and groovy music every morning and set it for about 1 or two minutes. Ask your child to finish brushing their teeth just before the music finishes. This will charge up your child right at the beginning of his day and will also ensure a healthy and exciting tooth brushing for him.Author Profile:
Michael Marchetta is a blogger for LoveandLogic – parenting books for toddlers. In his free time he likes to take questions directly from parents and educators and promote the parenting instincts they already have.