Now I usually stay away from parenting advice topics but I thought this is a fun one for me and pretty non conterversial. I mean we all want to have healthy teeth and good oral hygine and this is how I go about it!!! If you go in my children's bathroom there are three child toothbrushes to one toddler. No my kid does not have three mouths but rather learning how to brush his teeth. Now you would think my son would only need one toothbrush like most adults. However, teaching and brushing his teeth became a battle and something needed to change. I had to think...How am I going to ge this cute but very stubborn strong willed toddler to learn and want to brush his teeth? Well th first part of the problem was to make it fun I mean a lot of things become more enjoyable when they become fun...don't you agree?
|Say Hello To Caleb|
The first area I tackled or changed to help my son learn and want to brush his teeth was the toothbrush or should I say toothbrushes. I took Caleb with me to the store with me and the first toothbrush he picked out was a transformer toothbrush. I mean just like picking out big kid undies for potty training I felt like this was an important milestone for my child. I just made sure the bristles were soft or extra soft like our dentist recommended. It helped a lot because it was his toothbrush and he wanted to brush his teeth with it. However, my husband gets ready for work in that bathroom in wee hours of the morning so his toothbrush is in there as well and he has a spinbrush and Caleb was just fasicnated by it and always wanting to use it. So one day while I was out I came across a child's spin brush on sale it has a smaller head on it and designed for little mouths and hands. I also came across a light up toothbrush in the shape of a lightsaber and the reason I bought this was because it stays lighted for two minutes. Now bare with me I will explain in just a minute why he has three toothbrushes. I also keep a couple toothbrushes on stock for travel for him and just in case something happens to one of this toothbrushes.
The second area I tackled or changed was making brushing his teeth fun or ways to keep him wanting to brush his teeth. So I thought of fun and creative ways. The first thing I let my son do is pick how he will brush his teeth by picking a toothbrush. Each toothbrush has its own game or way of brushing his teeth. If he picks the basic toothbrush it is a copycat game and he must copy cat everything I do. Sometime I clap or raise my hands, sing (badly) and then making brushing movements and brusm my teeth and he copies. I do suggest though if you use this game you do not make the child move like jumping or running because if the child has the toothbrush in their mouth they could trip your fall and really hurt themselves. If he picks the spinbrush he has to act like a big boy because his Daddy is a big boy. This one is not so much as fun but as a lot of positive reinforcement. He moves the stool by himself, puts the toothpaste on the brush, brushes his teeth by himself, rinses his brush, an wipes down the sink all by himself. In the meantime I am telling him what a big boy he is and reminding him of the routine and there to help just incase. I just cannot explain the smile on his face when he has all done!!! Finally if he picks the toothbrush that light sup we brush are teeth in the dark for two minutes. We put his stool up to the sink turn off the lights (the night light comes on and you can see the sink and have visibility if not it could get kind of messy). He has a blast brushing his teeth with a green light!! When I let him pick this toothbrush I stand right behind him on the stool so he cannot fall and I reinforce the importance to him about him not to run or even walk with the tooth brush in his mouth.
I found it amazing that sometimes he wanted nothing to do with light up brush or switches daily but it keeps him engaged which I love. We also engage the frequencey of brushing his teeth. I usually like my son to brush his teeth at least twice a day we sometimes do more depending what he been eating and because he is still learning. Once I am confident that I know he knows how to brush his teeth properly I am sure it will go to about two times but we are still a bit away from that goal. I noticed the more thrilled about making brushing teeth exciting so is he! Often times when I tell him it is time to brush his teeth he makes a bee line to the bathroom!
Other Little Tidbets
I focus on routine and skills with my children i often find tools to aid with that. After Christmas I found this FAST TRACK SMILES HOTWHEELS SET (I think I paid $2 for it in the after Christmas sel at Walmart I even bought my 4-month old daughter at the time a Tinkerbell one and have it stored away for when it is her time to start brushing so hopefully she likes faires). His set comes with a lillte cup, toothbrush holder,cheap toothbrush (which I snagged for a cleaning brush) and has a whotwheels decoration on it. The only thing I do not like about it is the car likes to pop off it so I am going to have to glue it on there! Caleb understands where the toothbrush goes when he is done brushing his teeth as well as other basic routine steps in his brushing teeth routine.
|I purchased this at Walmart after Christmas so I am not sure if it is seasonal or if they will bring it back next Christmas season.|
WHAT I AM WORKING ON
Now there are still a couple of things I am working on. With all thins this is a constant learning process and I am sure when he is older I will learn about and try to conquer other dental challenges
One of things that I am working on is teach Caleb how to brush his teeth properly and with him being two and trying to explain it to him about getting the front, back, side, and even the tounge has hit a road block. I mean you can show him or have him copy you show much. Some of the ideas that I have come up with envolve around the concept of mimic. Most children will watch what you do then proceed to mimic what you have done. I have thought about getting two sets of chattering teeth or making something in my crafting mind of fake teeth and sitting down with my son and teaching him how to brush the teeth of these items or even a doll with teet. The only problem is Caleb does not like to sit to sit down very long so I am not sure if it will capture his attention but I am going to have to try.
The second thing I am trying to teach my son is how to spit. I would have never thought it would be this hard to teach a boy how to spit!!! I would think this is something he would want to do but none the less we are still working on this and I can only assume will come with time and practice. With this being said we are using a fluoride-free training tooth paste which is safe to swallow. Now I know there are many opinions on what toothpaste for your children and family to use all I can it is personal choice and research the right tooth paste for your little one.
|An example of trainging toothpaste on the market to day. You can find it at most supermarkets, drug stores, and online.|
Once he learns how to spit we are moving on to flossing, rinsing, and swishing (with water and mouth rinse if need be). There are tons of items out there. Please reserach all items and figure out what is best for your family and what may be right for my family may not be right for yours.
The third thing is routine. My son loves routine and does respond to visuals like charts but because we are still working on several milestones I do not want to overwhelm him with charts so that is for a later time. I have included some pictures of examples of routine and brushing charts. If you google or on pinterest you can find tons of printables. If you are crafty there are tons of ideas on making routine charts and so on...
and this is my world of teaching my toddler how to brush his teeth...
THIS IS JUST MY PERSONAL THOUGHTS ON HOW I TACKLED TEACHING MY TODDLER BRUSH HIS TEETH I STRESS WHAT HAS WORKED FOR ME MAY NOT WORK FOR YOU. THE METHODS THAT I USE MAY BE SOMETHING THAT YOU DISAGREE WITH BUT ARE IN NO WAY MADE TO OFFEND YOUR PARENTING STYLE. I MAY DISAGREE WITH YOUR PARENTING STYLE OR PARTS YOUR STYLE BUT I RESPECT YOUR CHOICES AND ASK YOU TO EXTEND THE SAME RESPECT TO ME.