• Guest Blogger

Two of Everything and Little Sponges

by Annabelle from North Carolina

Like most toddlers, my almost 3-year-old craves independence and sometimes leaves me frustrated. Brushing and flossing teeth is no exception!

As soon as babies get a tooth, it's recommended to brush two times a day for two minutes each time. As new parents there is a huge learning curve with all things baby-related. Attempting to make this teeth-brushing thing happen in our house, we quickly learned what didn't work. After a lot of trial and error, however, we've found success in our routine.

Music


My daughters love music and, conveniently enough, most songs last about 2 minutes. Pulling up a special song on my phone for brushing teeth is both motivating and a perfect timer for how long we need to brush.

Stopwatch or timer


Of course, my toddler often wants "her turn" to brush her teeth. She knows that either mom or dad need a turn first to "get the tricky spots" and then she gets a timer for her turn. Our timers are always 2 minutes and hers range from 10 seconds to how much patience I have during bedtime that night!

Choices


I read once that kids sometimes defy authority because they aren't given an opportunity to choose. With that in mind, we usually have two of everything: two toothpaste options, two toothbrushes, two flosser sticks. Instead of "we are going to brush your teeth now...," We've reframed the question to "which toothbrush and toothpaste do you like tonight, orange or pink?"

Taking it a step further, if I'm needing to buy more flosser sticks or toothpaste, I'll try including my toddler in the decision-making process (within reason). Of course, she's suddenly more motivated to brush her teeth if it's a pony toothbrush that she got to pick out!

Modeled behavior


As with anything, my kids are little sponges, watching and listening to everything they see mom and dad do. Brushing and flossing teeth is no exception to that! When my daughters see me taking care of my teeth, it's easier to set the expectation for them.

Some days, all of these tips are necessary to get the job done. Other days, maybe one or two. The best part of our routine, now, is that it's expected because we are consistent. If anything, I want my kids to know that taking care of our bodies shows self-respect and gratitude. Plus, it doesn't hurt that consistent teeth-brushing helps to lower dental bills!

This blog was written by one of our guest bloggers, Annabelle.

About Annabelle


I’m a wife and a mama to two girls and the sweetest dog, Duke. I have a degree in public health and a love for learning all things nutrition. My husband jokes that I don't have any one hobby because I'm constantly trying new ways to teach my family and stay busy! A few recent favorites are running, calligraphy and mentoring a youth group.


I have big dreams of making big changes in the world. However, if anything, I know that big change happens with small choices each day. By teaching and helping my girls, I hope my little corner of the world is a little better than before.




More posts by Annabelle:

Want more information on brushing your child's teeth? wichealth.org has a free online lesson called Two Minutes Twice A Day For A Healthy Smile. Find it on wichealth.org in the Children 1-5 category!