Children grow up very quickly, and parents must teach them major life skills. One important life skill that will impact children’s health is tooth brushing. Adults will, therefore, need to invest a significant amount of time into training their toddlers to brush their teeth effectively. As with any lesson, parents will need to express a large amount of love and patience throughout the process. Teaching this particular skill can often prove to be a long and trying period, but parents; efforts pay off in the end because their toddlers will be able to practice this habit throughout the remainder of their lives.
Allow Your Toddler to Pick Out the Supplies
When you allow your child to pick out the brushing supplies directly, it makes the entire process more hands-on and fun for him or her. With this simple step, you can get your child excited for this next step in life by beginning with a fun shopping trip to the local store to pick out the necessary supplies. Once at the store, he or she will be able to choose his or her very own toothbrush and special toothpaste. With all the options of themes and special characters on toothbrushes, each child will surely be able to find one that suits his or her personality and preferences. This is a very big step for the child, and it should be made into an extremely fun adventure.
Be Sure to Lower Expectations
As a parent, it can be a very stressful process trying to teach your toddler how to brush his or her teeth. However, you must make this lesson a really fun experience each time. In the beginning, you may need to lower your expectation for the process and be very careful not to express any disappointment. Your toddler is just beginning to learn this new activity; therefore, it is going to take several attempts at brushing before he or she gets the hang of it all. These initial sessions are strictly for your child to understand the process of brushing his or her teeth and to get into the habit of doing this grooming step daily.
Brush Together as a Team
It is often helpful and highly recommended to brush along with your toddler in the beginning. The child is just learning how to take over control of the toothbrush since the parents have been the main ones holding it up to this point. Therefore, turning it into a family activity and having mom or dad brush along with the toddler can prove to be helpful while he or she is learning to control the toothbrush and use it properly. Since the parent and child are sharing this activity, it can also be a fun and positive time together. This is a time to be excited and to give the child praise for wanting to practice a new healthy habit.
Double Up on Practice
This is a great opportunity to not only practice twice a day but also to ensure that the teeth are still getting cleaned properly to protect them from cavities. Parents may use the morning tooth brushing session to let their toddler brush on his or her own with little assistance. Once parents implement a nighttime brushing session, they will want to conduct a thorough check of the child’s teeth and floss them at this time. The parent must do the flossing to ensure it is done with as little pain to the toddler’s mouth as possible.
Let Your Toddler Take a Spin
If a standard toothbrush is not working well for your toddler, it may be worth the investment to purchase a battery-operated toothbrush that spins. These toothbrushes come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors, and they offer several various features depending on what you are looking to purchase. Some toothbrushes for toddlers feature songs, lights, and signals that communicate the designated time is up, and brushing has been completed. This is a great incentive for a child because it can add a novel and exciting element to learning how to brush his or her teeth.
Make a Fun Chart
Parents may want to implement a creative and graphic brushing chart for when their toddler is beginning to learn to brush his or her teeth. By providing a child with a visual of his or her progress, parents could potentially motivate their little one to be excited about brushing and help him or her to advance more quickly with this grooming step. By offering this incentive, parents allow their toddlers to have fun while placing a sticker on the chart to symbolize that he or she completed the brushing session.
Reward the Toddler
Lastly, parents should realize that learning to brush teeth is a huge milestone for their toddlers. Mastering this new daily routine is not an easy feat; therefore, it is completely appropriate to reward your child for accomplishing daily brushing. You want to express the importance of proper tooth care and to encourage your child to maintain healthy habits for the rest of his or her life. The rewards do not necessarily need to be major ones; instead, they can range from a simple sticker to allowing the toddler to watch an episode of a favorite show for brushing his or her teeth correctly.
Above All, Have Fun
Parents should be sure to take their time during this process and to enjoy it. Throughout the experience, parents need to express patience, love, and excitement toward their toddler as he or she is learning this healthy new habit. Remember to celebrate the small steps of progress to lead the toddler to the end goal of brushing his or her teeth without assistance from the parents.