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Tips to encourage your child to wash and brush their teeth

We are all looking for ways to maintain our sanity  make parenting easier. Three years into parenting, myself and Gorgeous George’s Daddy are still devising ways to encourage George to wash and brush his teeth.

George was two weeks old before hubs and I plucked up the courage to give him his first full bath. Scared of him being a slippery bugger and flying out of hands, thus causing himself  us to have hurt him, we waited until it was really necessary. We quickly realised this was going to be something George needed convincing was a fun and relaxing habit.

“wash”

We have since devised many ways to encourage our child that the essential act of getting washed and brushing your teeth can be fun. I’d like to add that George has pretty much always loved bathtimes and teeth brushing. His main issue is either that he is too tired or the desire to want to play with his toys is too strong.

Here’s are my top tips to encourage your child to wash and brush their teeth twice a day;

  1. Explain what’s expected. I’ve always explained what is ahead of us. I think it helps to make tasks or trips seem less daunting.
  2. Get them involved. Yes it might take longer but let them have some control. George is almost three and can
  • Fill the sink
  • Wash his hands and face with soap and a flannel
  • Dry them on a towel
  • Load his toothbrush with the right amount of toothpaste
  • Clean his own teeth
  • Spit (Rinsing is not actually recommended by dentists)

I don’t know if this is typical for a child his age and although I still supervise him to help him remain focused, he is more than independently able to complete these tasks. I do assist him when I feel he’s missed a bit. I also try to clean his teeth myself a few times a week to ensure they are getting properly cleaned. I have taught him the proper brushing technique

3. Get a chart. Ask your dentist for a teeth brushing chart or download one like the one here Teeth brushing chart . A fun toothbrush with a character on also helps. Getting your child to choose their own toothbrush in the shop is good encouragement. Just make sure they are age appropriate.

4. Make up songs. Back in the day where I was forever wet wiping George’s face clean of food from weaning etc, we made up a song. To the tune of E I Adio;

We’re cleaning George’s face/arms/bum

We’re cleaning George’s face

We’re making George all gorgeous

We’re cleaning George’s face

This also worked for brushing teeth, brushing hair, putting on socks, coat and so on.

5. Challenge your child to a “teeth race”.

Teeth brushing is important and needs to be done properly for it to be sufficient.

The teeth race in short is you cleaning your teeth at the same time your child cleans theirs. If your child doesn’t clean their own teeth yet you can do this in conjunction with your partner. They clean their own teeth whilst you clean your child’s.

This should also help to get your child from anywhere in the house to the bathroom in a matter of minutes. You can also use this for handwashing etc.

6. Get the toys involved. George’s favourite toy changes almost weekly. Over the years we have tried to suggest that “rabbit” or his “Lightning McQueen” would love to watch him getting washed and cleaning his teeth.

Show them Mr Monkey how you wash your hands

If the toy is waterproof it goes in, or even simpler, use a favourite bath toy, or the toy can sit on a ledge from a safe distance to the water and “watch”.

This method can often mean that wash time takes up to 10 minutes or more but I often leave him to get on with having fun whilst I sneakily get a face wash in. I am then free to do my makeup or get dressed, empty the litter tray, or even have a quick clean up.

7. Following on from the “bring a toy” idea, suggest that mr car is all dirty and needs a wash. Before you know it your child will be elbow deep in bubbles and foam and getting clean without even realising it. Let’s face it, if they are that grubby then the bath is an easier option.

8. Songs, songs, songs. I had a tiny turtle, row row row the boat, I jumped aboard a pirate ship, any songs or nursery rhymes, preferably water related to distract your little one whilst you wash them.

9. Bribery! I insist that we cannot go downstairs in the morning until we have washed and cleaned our teeth. The bathroom in our house is upstairs, playing with toys happens downstairs. If like mine, your little one is eager to get up and play with the toys, then insist that they can’t until they have had their wash and cleaned their teeth. Works for me.

10. Buy fun soap. Here are a few of our favs. George enjoys mixing different colours and textures so we often have several different soaps on the sink edge at a time.

  • Johnsons easy rinse foaming shampoo
  • Lush Rainbow fun soap
  • Carex handwash in Bubblegum/Love Hearts or Strawberry Laces (Even my visiting nephew complimented me on the epicness of this soap)

So what do you think of our top tips? Do you have any to add? Obviously I’m always on the lookout for new ideas and means of encouragement.

 

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Mummy’s first day at preschool. 

Ah it’s here. September. Back to school. It feels like when you are starting a new job. Excited but nervous. The kid? Well he’s oblivious. I have a two (nearly three) year old. He doesn’t NEED to go to preschool. So why am I putting us through this?
 

Well he’s always gone to nursery as I DID return to work for a few months. After I left I kept it on just to give myself some child free time if I’m honest. 
My health hasn’t been fab in recent months leaving me unable to drive to where George attended nursery. We had to make the difficult choice to remove him from the wonderful privately owned nursery that he attended from ten months old. 

We opted to get him a place in the government preschool adjoined to where will hopefully be his school in the future. 
This was always going to be somewhere he had to end up eventually. 

So why the anxiety Mummy? Well in his private nursery he was in the presence of two carers and roughly six children per room. I was reassured he would get the love and attention he would at home. He would be in view all the time so no one could hurt or bully him. 

His new preschool is linked to the primary school. When he starts tomorrow he will be in the regular presence of 27 children and 6 carers. I attended the settle in day. It’s a large space both indoors and outdoors. The carers physically could not be everywhere and see everything. 

There were what can only be described as several sadistic shitbags that I wouldn’t want to be left alone with George. I know the apron strings have got to be cut loose at some point and he’s got to learn to find his own way of dealing with things in the world. But he’s two. You can’t even explain to him. 

When George has been upset by other children I often respond by removing him from the situation and giving him a cuddle. I know some parents may argue that he should “man up and hit back”. I’ve asked George if he would hit another child back that hurt him and his response was “why?”.
This left me realising this little boy is being kind, thoughtful and considering just like his mummy and daddy. We are raising him to be as such so why would we suddenly tell him to hit people!
That said, hubs is teaching him to box. Although he currently only uses that on hubs. 

So I turned to my gentle parenting train of thought and suggested that if another child hurts him anytime I’m not around he should say 

“stop! That’s not nice, I’m going to tell a grown up”. 

Again I asked him if he would do this instead of his current method of simply standing and crying until someone rescues him and he said “no, I’ll just stand and cry”. 

So here I am. So excited for my little boys first day of preschool. All the wonderful new toys and children to play and interact with. New staff to meet and learn the schools ways. We have attended several seasonal open days there and he has never wanted to leave due to the sheer expanse of the place and how many activities there are to do. 

Yet my protective, worrying side is scared. I know children, as fickle as they are, can be put off by things after only one traumatic incident. That said he still absolutely loves any child that hits him so perhaps he is also going to be a forgiving soul too. 
As I wave goodbye tomorrow and give him a big kiss and a squeeze, I’ll run home and immerse myself in some wall knocking down (yes seriously, it’s on my to do list). And when I return I know my fears will be banished. I know he will have had a fab time. I know he will excel and flourish even more there. But I know this worry is here to stay. 
As he grows, so will my worry. I’m losing the grip. He will no longer have me to protect his every move. He’s two for crying out loud. It’s ok I tell myself. There is always home schooling. 
And then there are the other mums. What if none of them want to be friendly. What if they all know each other and aren’t very welcoming. Perhaps you can tell but I was bullied at school. If I was the person I am now I don’t think they would have been so successful but then perhaps if I wasn’t bullied I wouldn’t be as strong as I am now. 
We all just want our children to be happy, safe and protected. Don’t we? 

So for all the anxious mummies in the playground tomorrow, I feel you. A few words of wisdom for each other and a bit of support and I’m sure we will all get through this. And for the mums of the sadistic little shits, (although you probably don’t call them that) I feel for you, really I do. It must be tough looking after a kid like that, you have my empathy. 

Good luck to everyone starting or returning to school tomorrow, Daddy’s too. I’m sure this probably applies to you. Although I can’t help feeling Daddy’s just get on with things without all the worrying us women do. Would love to hear from some Daddy’s with little ones starting or returning to school. 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday