Make Brushing Fun With These 5 Helpful Tips!
For young children, brush time can easily turn into fuss time. If you struggle to get your kids to brush their teeth, then maybe it’s time to add a dose of fun to your routine. Below we list five creative ways to make brushing seem less like work and more like play.
1. Tell a “toothy” story – Kids love hearing stories, so why not turn brush time into story time? Make up a simple, silly story that you can tell as your child brushes their teeth. Here is an example:
There once was a little girl/boy who had very dirty teeth. “Oh no!” said the little girl. “What should I do? Boo hoo! Boo hoo!” (Ask your child to make a crying sound.) Then, a magic fairy appeared and said, “I have a special treat for you! It’s a magic toothbrush! Hooray!” (Ask your child to make a cheering sound.) The magic toothbrush jumped up and brushed the dirty teeth just like this (brush your child’s teeth, or watch them brush) until they were as shiny as the stars in the sky. This made the little girl/boy smile the biggest smile in the whole wide world! (Ask your child to smile at the bathroom mirror.) The end.
2. Make a game out of it – Playing games or playing pretend is a great way of turning a boring task like brushing your teeth into something fun! Here are a few ideas:
● The Sugar Bugs Game: Tell your child that their job is to brush away the sugar bugs. Get into it and say things like, “Oh, the sugar bugs are on your back teeth! Now they are on your front teeth! Now they are on your tongue! Brush them away!”
● The Numbers Game: Count out loud for every tooth that is clean. For example, “Tooth number one is all clean! Now here comes tooth number two!” This also gives your child a chance to practice counting.
● My Little Alligator: Ask your child if they want to pretend to be an alligator. Ask them to open their mouth wide so you can brush their alligator teeth. You can say things like, “My, what big, sharp alligator teeth you have!”
3. Let’s brush together! – Stand side by side with your little one in front of a mirror when you brush and ask them to do everything you do. Have fun with it and make silly faces and funny noises as you brush. This lets you have some fun while you show your child exactly how they should be brushing their teeth. For added silliness, bring your child’s favorite toy or stuffed animal into the bathroom, and let their special friend “watch” while they brush.
4. Keep track with a “brush chart” – Buy a calendar or hand-draw a chart where your child can keep track of their brushing. Hang the chart near the sink and have your child mark when they have brushed their teeth. Keep track using colored markers or add a sticker to the chart for every time they brush. Giving stickers as a reward is a great way to get your kids excited about brushing.
5. Use a timer – Everyone should brush for two minutes, every time. Use a kitchen timer or a stopwatch, and challenge your child to brush until the timer goes off. Two minutes can seem like forever to a small child, and being able to watch the clock tick down to zero keeps them from asking, “Am I done yet?!?” If watching the clock doesn’t get them brushing, try singing a song while they brush. You could even play their favorite song and brush along to it.
To help with all the troubles of brushing, we created an app especially for kids. The free Kool Smiles iPhone app has a fun brushing timer, an electronic chart to keep track of progress and has more great tips for parents. Download it today for free!
A little bit of fun can make a big difference in getting your kiddos to pick up that brush and start polishing their pearly whites. Every kid is different, so keep trying ideas until you find one that works. Getting kids to brush their teeth can be tough, but it’s worth the effort. Brushing after meals and flossing daily not only helps keep their tiny mouths cavity-free, but it is also the start of a habit they will need for a lifetime of healthy teeth.