Helping your tot brush their teeth can sometimes feel like you’re going to battle. The moment junior sees you walking towards them with the toothbrush, they may start to scream and cry in a bid to get out of toothbrushing. If you miraculously manage to drag them to the sink, you’ll encounter the next problem ― getting them to open their mouths wide enough to brush their tiny teeth.
Infographic: Rachel Lim
1. Show junior the way ― brush with your kids!
To encourage toothbrushing among your kids, show them how it is done. Besides brushing together as a family, you can even let him brush your teeth for you! Once your kiddo sees you doing it, he will feel less afraid and be more willing to brush his own teeth.
2. Get him to “brush” his toy’s teeth first
Help ease his fear of brushing by letting him pretend to brush his toy’s teeth, so that can familiarise himself with the toothbrush before using it on himself.
3. Let him pick his own toothbrush
Give your kiddo a sense of ownership ― let him choose his own toothbrush to boost his interest and motivation to brush. The market offers many different types, from those with cartoon designs to electronic ones. Make sure the brush is rounded and fits your little one’s mouth well, so as to prevent cuts and bruises on his sensitive gums. Soft bristles will also prevent sore gums and bleeding.
4. Try a new toothpaste
Let your child choose his own toothpaste, too, so that he feels involved in the task. Maybe he didn’t like the grape-flavoured toothpaste you bought as he might prefer strawberry. Letting him choose his own toothpaste might get him excited about using it. Remember, a small pea-sized amount is enough for kids aged between 2 and 5. For kids below the age 2, a rice grain-sized amount is sufficient.
5. Sing a happy song
Play an upbeat song about two minutes long (recommended brushing time) to accompany your tot while he brushes. After a while, he will start to associate the song with tooth brushing. There are apps like the Disney Magic Timer and Brush DJ that encourages proper toothbrushing skills among tots while make brushing time fun.
6. Use rewards to motivate him
Using a reward system can help motivate bubba to brush his teeth, too. Just make sure the prize isn’t in the form of sweets and unhealthy snacks, so that tooth decay isn’t the result. Try something small and simple, such as a sticker or a longer trip to the playground.
Photo and Illustration: iStock
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