In all honesty, bedtime is the worst time around our house lately for some reason. Alea is usually a pretty agreeable gal, but lately she’s been a little more pokey going through her bedtime routine and a little disagreeable when it comes to brushing and cleaning between her teeth. It’s enough to drive me batty sometimes, but I’m working on making this routine a little more “fun” for her so it can be fun for everyone else in return… hopefully.
I’m sure I’m not the only one around these parts who has issues with a smooth bedtime routine and showing my kiddos that it can actually be fun, so I thought I would share a few tips I’ve collected from my experience and from other moms as well. If anything, maybe this will make your bedtime routine just a little easier & keep your child’s smile sparkling– just in time for National Children’s Dental Health Month!
one | Lay out the expectations: This is key when it comes to appropriate and thorough dental care for kids. Let them brush their teeth first, but make sure they know that you’ll finish up for them to get the areas they have trouble reaching or aren’t able to see. Also walk and talk them through the process so they know to get all surfaces of their teeth, they know how long to brush for, and they know to follow-up with flossing as well. They may be baby teeth, but they’re just as important to care for as adult teeth!
two | Let them pick-out their toothbrush: It’s good practice to replace your child’s toothbrush (and your own) every 3-4 months, so why not let them pick-out their toothbrush? Alea just had to have the one above and I was happy to oblige. If it gets her interested in brushing her teeth and lessens the likelihood of a toothbrushing fight, I’m alright with that!
three | Start them young: We used a gum brush on Mckenna before she started to get teeth and we use a brush with bristles now that she has just about 9 teeth. (She has a molar coming in right now… it’s awful!) Caring for their little teeth from a younger age not only improves their dental health, but it also will get them used to the routine and they’ll be more tolerant of it as they grow.
four | Set a timer: The length of time is always where kids seem to fall short. They scrub that toothbrush around for a few seconds, assume they’ve covered enough ground, and then rinse and spit. Teach your little one to sing Happy Birthday in their head two times or better yet, set a timer on your phone for two minutes or get an hourglass timer. It may seem long at first compared to how they were brushing before, but they will soon get used to taking that extra time to ensure a cleaner, brighter smile!
five | Create a rewards system: Alea has a chore chart where she gets little smiley face magnets for completing various chores and self-care tasks. Since toothbrushing is something we’ve been working on, we’ve included that on her chart and she only gets a magnet if she brushes all surfaces of her teeth adequately and for the entire time per her timer. Sticker charts would work great for this, too! Just getting to put a sticker or a magnet on that spot will be reward enough, but you can also offer various rewards if they fill their chart.
And you can find so many more tips & tricks and answers to all of your childhood dental health questions by visiting the American Dental Association’s website. This is a fabulous resource for your children, but if you click around a bit you’ll also find plenty of information on oral health for teens and adults as well.
It’s also important to remember that you should take your child to the dentist when their first teeth start coming in (or before their first birthday) and they should really go into visit the dentist regularly for cleanings. We’re also currently trying to reduce the number of sweets and fruit snacks in our house to improve the health of Alea’s teeth. Those darn sticky treats get stuck in those molars and can really cause trouble with cavities.
I hope these tips help make your child’s bedtime routine a little less stressful for everyone. It’s hard not to get caught up in the hustle and bustle, but it’s so important to make sure you’re taking adequate time to care for your child’s teeth!
How do you make teeth brushing time more exciting for your little one?
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of American Dental Association.