Regardless of age, we all like control of some kind. Think of the activities your child desires to do themselves, and sometimes so intensely, you get “the whine.” Maybe it’s choosing their own outfit or eating their favorite cereal. It could be playing with a friend before homework’s completed or having a peer stay for dinner. Use these ‘wants’ as a privilege or prize when good dental habits are kept. Most parents use some kind of rewards system based on behavior and academics, but rarely incorporate dental care and hygiene. Make ‘taking care of our teeth’ your newest family norm.
2. Brush To the Beat!
Tell your kids you’re fed up with the boredom of brushing your teeth before bed and in the morning before work/school. Ask them for ideas on how to “spice it up,” and suggest an idea of your own – Music! Allow your kids to choose a song each week, which signals to the entire family: It’s time to brush and floss! When your kids forget to brush or seem to procrastinate, no need to yell or harp. Just turn up the tunes and watch them run to the sink. The game will become habit in no time!
3. Lunch with a Crunch
If you pack your child’s lunch, or even an after school snack, make it something that helps dental health. Pack snack foods like carrots, apples, and even nuts. If your child helps you pack, ask, “Is there a crunch in your lunch?” This too can become a norm for every mealtime when tooth-brushing is not an option. Include a water bottle in addition to the juice or drink of choice. This helps to rinse the particles out of your kids’ mouths, leaving less likelihood for cavities to develop.
Sure, it will take some time to lead a child into a lifestyle of good dental habits, but just imagine the cheers when your kid(s) receive an A+ from Dr. Matthew Stratman at your next family-block appointment.
For more ideas on how to encourage good dental habits and a lifetime of healthy teeth, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us. We look forward to serving you.