Toddlers tend to have a mind of their own. From temper tantrums to the cutest of expressions, you never know exactly what you’re going to deal with from one moment to the next. But one thing is for sure: when you want your toddler to cooperate, chances are that they have something else in mind. This holds true when it comes to brushing their teeth too. So how do parents help make toothbrushing a fun time so that their toddlers will learn to love brushing their teeth? Read on for some ideas that we’ve picked up along the way.
Fun Tips to Help Make Toddler Toothbrushing Time a Fun Time
As we said earlier, getting toddlers to cooperate can be challenging. But even necessary everyday tasks like toothbrushing can be fun if you tailor them to your little ones. Check out these six strategies to make toothbrushing for your toddler easier than ever.
1. Make toothbrushing a family event.
The best way to make toothbrushing fun and to establish a routine is by having everyone in the family in on the party. When your youngest is ready for bed, have each person in the family don their toothbrushes. Apply toothpaste and set a timer for two minutes. Have fun watching toothpaste build up in the corner of your mouths. After all, no one ever said that toothbrushing couldn’t take place without a few giggles along the way.
2. Make sure your toddler sees you when you are brushing your teeth.
Toddlers often want to do what others are doing. So if you can’t always make toothbrushing a family event, try to brush your teeth when your toddler is watching. After all, children learn by watching everyone around them, especially their parents. And if your child isn’t quite ready to brush their teeth on their own yet, it doesn’t mean that you can’t give them a toothbrush so that they can touch and feel it to become more familiar with the concept. As long as you watch them closely, allow your child to play with a toddler-appropriate toothbrush while brushing your teeth. This will make the entire concept of a toothbrush and the practice of toothbrushing less scary.
3. Select some toothbrushing songs.
Toddlers tend to love music and enjoy dancing. Fortunately, there are many toothbrushing songs available for free on the internet – most of which your toddler should be sure to love. Barney’s Brushing My Teeth song tends to be a favorite. Or try the Sesame Street Kids Just Love to Brush song. If these songs don’t quite do the trick, then try a quick Google search for toddler toothbrushing songs and you’ll find plenty to try.
4. Toddlers thrive on routine.
Routines provide children (and adults too) with a sense of security and stability. All kids want to feel safe in their environment, and they thrive on knowing what to expect and when. Make toothbrushing part of your toddler’s routine twice a day. Not only will your child better understand what is expected of them, but you’ll be setting the stage for good oral hygiene habits down the road. One of the best ways to prevent tooth decay and tooth pain or toothaches is by keeping those chompers clean. Toddlers who have their teeth brushed regularly are less likely to develop tooth decay than those who do not.
5. Let your toddler pick out their own toothbrush.
There are oodles of options out there when it comes to toothbrushes for toddlers. Be sure to select one with soft bristles, a soft body and handle that can also serve as a teether, and a large handle that is easy for your child to hold onto. Then, let your toddler pick the design that they like the best. Most pharmacies and large stores such as Target and Walmart have multiple toothbrush styles to choose from, so your toddler can probably find one that they will like.
6. Let your toddler try to do it themself.
If your toddler has ever said “I do it,” to you, this tip should come as no surprise. Toddlers love calling the shots, and one of the ways they learn is by trying things for themselves. So let your toddler brush their own teeth for a part of their toothbrushing time. Be sure to provide ample praise, and then help them finish the job once they are done.
Don’t forget regular visits to the dentist as part of your toddler’s toothbrushing routine.
As with adults, your toddler should pay a visit to the dentist at least once every six months. It is recommended that kids start going to the dentist by the time of their first birthday. So if your toddler hasn’t paid a visit to the dentist yet, now is a time to request an appointment. If you live or work in the areas of Waldorf or Prince Frederick, Maryland, then the We Make Kids Smile team might be perfect for you and your toddler.