10 Tips For Better Brushtime Behaviour
If your child’s behaviour is unpredictable at brushtime, you are not alone.
It is very common for parents to struggle to get their children to brush their teeth and according to a report, commissioned by Aquafresh, two thirds of parents surveyed say their children do not often enjoy brushing their teeth and nearly half of all parents surveyed say they have to make their children brush their teeth because they won’t do it of their own accord.
Here, child behaviourist Lorraine Thomas shares her top tips for helping children to develop an effective brushtime routine that is a fun for all the family.
Ten Top Tips to Encourage Better Brushtime
1. Great habits are caught not taughtTo help your child to develop an effective oral health routine take a close look at your own dental habits and make sure they are good enough to pass on.
2. Brush your teeth when they brush theirsYour child loves your attention and brushtime is an ideal opportunity to enjoy time together. Take it in turns to brush each other’s teeth (prepare to get a bit wet!). The bathroom can be a real centre for the family and it is important to have fun there.
3. Show and tell them what you want them to doExplain to your child what to do rather than what not to do. Rather than say ‘don’t forget to clean your back teeth’, say ‘remember to clean your back teeth’.
4. Make sure good behaviour gets attention and gets repeatedSometimes we tend to focus on the times our children aren’t doing what we want them to do and give them attention for the behaviour we want to discourage, e.g. “you aren’t cleaning your teeth properly”. When you see them holding their toothbrush well and making an effort – praise them.
5. Use apps, egg timers, gizmos and gadgetsChildren can find it helpful to use the Aquafresh Brushtime App, a giant egg timer or a musical toothbrush to help them understand how long they are supposed to brush for. Star charts and stickers can also be powerful motivators, especially for young children. Location is important, so find a place for the sticker chart in the bathroom.
6. Give instructions one at a time and use visual mapsMake instructions simple and remember young children will often find a visual map a really helpful way to reinforce spoken instructions. You can make these simply by getting them to draw pictures of what you want them to do in the morning or evening.
7. Enlist the help of a sibling or encourage a sleepover friend who is a good tooth brusherPeer influence is powerful and if your child is reluctant having a sibling or friend who enjoys cleaning their teeth can really help.
8. Give choices and responsibility when you are teaching themTry asking your child ‘would you like to clean your teeth first or put on your pyjamas?’ If they are in control and in the driving seat making choices – they are much likely to take action.
9. Get into the habit of using ‘when’ and ‘then’ rather than issuing ultimatumsIf ‘brushtime’ is a struggle rather than say ‘if you don’t do this … you can’t have that’ try saying ‘when you have cleaned your teeth, then we can have a cuddle and a story.’
10. Share books that involve teeth cleaning storiesTry ‘Brush Your Teeth Please’ by Leslie McGuire. It’s a pop-up book that is great fun and practical.
For more brushtime facts and to download your free personalised Aquafresh Brushtime Chart visit: www.aquafreshbrushtime.co.uk/brushtime-emotions/brushtime-behaviours/
Information provided by Aquafresh