But that cute image can often turn to tears and frustration (both yours and theirs) at the sight of a toothbrush.
If your toddler turns on their heel and runs at the sight of toothpaste and toothbrush, now’s the time to break the habit.
Setting up good teeth cleaning habits now, will help when the time comes for your kids to start brushing their teeth on their own, an achievement that will have you all smiling.
-Make it as much fun as possible and let your toddler pick the supplies.
Take your tot to the shops and let them choose (with the right guidance of course) a toothbrush and toothpaste. A colourful character on the brush’s handle may not inspire you, but it might make all the difference in coaxing your toddler to brush their teeth.
-You learn pretty quickly from the minute you bring your bundle of joy home that routine is a big part of your lives and let’s face it we all know our little ones thrive on routine.
So when it comes to brushing teeth, make it part of their every day routine. Whether it’s during bath time or right before bed, try to have the brushing take place at a similar time each day.
-If you can muster the energy in the early days, get into the habit of trying to clean their teeth twice a day: once in the morning, before breakfast, and after the last drink in the evening.
-Turn brushing into a game if you can, similar to the ones that you may have used to encouraging eating.
Persuade, rather than force, your toddler to open their mouth, it’s about helping them to learn to like the idea of brushing. And as always give lots of praise and encouragement when they let you brush their teeth.
-Our darling offspring are often good at copying our movements in everyday life so it’s also a great idea to let them watch you when you’re cleaning your teeth. Their curiosity may just get the better of them, especially if you show how good it is!
-On top of letting them watch you clean your teeth, go one better and brush your teeth together. Having a little camaraderie might encourage your toddler to take a little longer and give their teeth a more-thorough cleaning. Try stepping it up a notch by setting up a competition, for example who can brush every tooth or whose mouth has more foam. Be creative but make sure it doesn’t take away from the task at hand.
-Incorporate a bit of fun into teeth brushing and let them play. Get your child to pretend to brush toy animals or dolls teeth as practice before brushing their own.
-Make up a song about brushing teeth.
“Brushing teeth is so much fun, we could do it all day long. Brush one, two, three and four, keep going until you’ve got them all…”
-If you need to occupy their mind with something else use distraction. Let your child hold onto your toothbrush while you brush their teeth and maybe explain that’s what mummy or daddy use to clean their teeth.
-If all else fails and you’re really stuck or have concerns about your toddler’s teeth, you can always drop into your dentist.
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