Toddler Munch has been enjoying a full set of teeth for a while now (although the other week she seemed to be teething?!). So brushing teeth is very much part of our get ready and bedtime routine. Luckily she likes doing this due to her sister’s influence. But it hasn’t always been easy to encourage the little ones to brush their teeth. Sometimes they want to just eat the toothpaste and run. So here are some top tips for encouraging your children to brush their teeth…
- Do it around the same time in the morning and bedtime routine….For us, this is after their bath and not just before bedtime. I guess it depends if your kids or toddlers still have milk before going to sleep. If they do, then always try to brush teeth after milk guzzling. Remember milk has its own natural sugars.
- Brush your own at the same time. So kids see it as a family or group activity. Children’s psychologist and ‘play expert’ Emma Kenny gave me this tip when I joined in one of her #GetTheGrowHow Twitter chats. No harm in adults brushing or teeth a few time a day in we need to join in with the kids’ routine. I usually let the girls brush their teeth first and then I brush theirs afterwards. Emma reminded me that if they resist me having a go then I should let them brush mine.
- Empowering them with a bit of toothpaste responsibility…We have started to use Weleda’s Children’s Tooth Gel. Big Munch likes putting on her own toothpaste (with my supervision of course). I tell her that we only put a little on her toothbrush as we never want it to run out. The girls seem to like the taste of it – it has a subtle spearmint flavour but it also contains fennel. This toothpaste also has calendula ingredients which are great for protecting little gums. I also keep the toothbrushes on the side of the sink so Toddler Munch can help herself. I keep Big Munch’s a bit further away so Toddler Munch can’t use it.
- Upstairs and downstairs. Mr H started this trick with Big Munch to remind her to brush every single tooth and not just her front ones. It works (so far!)
- Get a timer (and in their favourite colour). Let them know it’s their timer and it’s very special. Let them start it off or turn it upside down. We bought a £2 pink one from Tiger stores (good excuse to pick up lots of other cool stuff you may need).
- Buy an electric toothbrush with their favourite cartoon character on… Well thank goodness for the Frozen battery operated toothbrush they do in most Boots stores. Big Munch has one and loves it. Disaster hit when we once left this at Mums once. Just like a car, Big Munch was used to an automatic but cooperatively settled with a manual for a few days. Now we have a spare Frozen one for weekends away. Recommended age to use these is from 3 years.
- Sing songs or play a tune on the phone…It’s important to make brushing teeth fun as well as part of the morning and evening routines. If it feels like a battle, toddlers and kids are going to resist even more. So if you want, try brushing teeth along to a tune. Obviously trickier if you have to sing whilst brushing your own teeth at the same time. So play a happy tune they love to get the brushing teeth party started.
Over to you…What are your tricks for brushing children’s teeth? What tricks did your own parents use to encourage you to brush your teeth when you were younger? Any other tips for looking after the little ones’ gnashers? Leave a comment below….
This blog post is in collaboration with Weleda UK who sent us some Children’s Tooth Gel to try out.
Pop over to this blogpost about juggling bathtime with kids and the lovely organic Weleda children’s range.