Toddlers aren’t always known for their excellent cooperation skills.
“Nope,” has quickly become our two-year-old’s favorite word. His immediate reaction is to refuse whatever it is we are asking — even if it’s something he absolutely loves.
So, when it comes to tasks and chores they don’t enjoy such as picking up their toys or taking a bath, things can escalate pretty quickly to meltdown mode. Asking your child to brush their teeth certainly takes no exception to this rule — who knew that a tiny toothbrush could cause so many fits and tears?
With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of eight easy ways that you can get your child to brush their teeth without the hysterics — and you might even get them looking forward to cleaning those pearly whites!
Let them pick out their own toothbrush
Get your little one involved in the process from the very beginning. Take them to the store with you and let them pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste. Don’t be surprised if they want to look at every single toothbrush or if they change their minds on which toothpaste they want twenty times. Be patient and have fun with it!
Make it fun
Brushing teeth isn’t the most exciting thing to do, so make this chore a little more fun. Make silly faces at each other in the mirror or sing one of their favorite songs while brushing their teeth. It will make the time fun, keep them distracted, and get them laughing — which gives you better access to those pearly whites.
Let them brush your teeth while you brush theirs
As silly as it may sound, this idea can work wonders. Hand them your toothbrush and let them brush your teeth while you brush theirs. This may take a little longer than usual, but they’ll love getting to take care of you. Just make sure they don’t stick your toothbrush in their mouth! 🙂
Set a timer
Make it a game by having a “race” with the timer on your phone. Not only will it keep them brushing their teeth until the time is up, but it will remind them that it won’t last forever.
Use a toothbrush chart
Some kids are a little more hands-on or task oriented. Put a chart in the bathroom that they can mark off or put a sticker on when they finish brushing their teeth. You can even give them a small reward (sweet treat, sticker book, etc.) at the end of the week if they’ve completed the entire chart.
I’ve created a free printable toothbrush chart in eight different colors that you can download! You can print it off and use it as a sticker chart — or laminate it to reuse over and over with a dry erase marker.
Talk about what you are doing
Some kids just like to understand what we are doing and why we are doing it. While this is routine for you, they might not completely understand why we wave a toothbrush around in their mouth every day. Explain to them that you are washing off all of the food from breakfast to keep their teeth shiny, clean, and healthy.
Let them make the choices
One of my favorite ways to get my son to do something he doesn’t want to do is to give him a choice between win-win options. Do you want to brush your teeth before or after we read a book? Would you like to brush your teeth in the downstairs or upstairs bathroom? Do you want to use the apple toothpaste or the grape toothpaste? All of these options get him brushing his teeth, but make him feel like he is in total control.
Stick to a routine
Routine, routine, routine — it makes all the difference for kids. If they know to expect to brush their teeth right after breakfast every morning and right before they hop into bed every night, they’ll be much more agreeable than if the schedule is all over the place.
What tricks do you use to get your little one excited about brushing their teeth? Let me know in the comments below — and don’t forget your free toothbrush chart printable!