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Independent, crazy and cute are all adjectives that could be used to describe my two-year-old. He’s a stereotypical wild man who loves saying, “no, I don’t want tooooo” and “I do it”. This translated to terrible times when we tried to brush his teeth every night.
A couple months ago, he would NOT let me bring a toothbrush near his mouth. Shaking his head no, mouth closed like a steel trap. And honestly, after a long day of fighting him on just about everything, the last thing I had was patience – not the best way to end the day. I finally called in the big guns and got some toddler teeth brushing advice from real moms – here’s what they said:
Give them choices
I let my kids choose just about whatever they want, as long as the end goal is getting accomplished. Easter pjs in December? Cool. Choosing which flavor of toothpaste they want to use that night? Which sink to brush at? I totally don’t care but they feel in control and everyone wins.
Ask a win/win question
Make it a joke
Talk about the things they ate that day and “chase” the food around their mouths. “Oooh, I see pizza! Let me get that pizza. Oh, no! Pizza jumped to the top teeth!”
Brush at the same time, right next to your kid, in the mirror. That way they’re more focused on what you’re doing and want to mimic you.
Make it Fun
Try a song or a stopwatch. Play the same song (one your child loves!) on your phone every night during brushing. Or try to “race” against the stopwatch on your phone so your kid can watch the time fly by.
Have a contest
Sibling rivalry doesn’t have to be a bad thing 😉 – have a contest to see who can brush their teeth longest, most tiny circles around their teeth, etc.
Stick to your routine
Kids like to know what to expect and if they know that every.single.night. after story, it’s time for teeth brushing, they can feel better prepared and in control.
Call in the Tooth Fairy
If you have a child who’s resisting trying a real toothpaste (versus their training toothpaste with no fluoride), get the Tooth Fairy involved. Have her drop off the new toothpaste and a new fun toothbrush for your big kid!
Try a Reward
Not every night, but a sticker chart can work wonders on older stubborn kids. At the end of X days, they get to choose a reward from the dollar store or whatever will motivate them.
The game changer
hello Products sent us some of their toothpaste and it was a HUGE hit! I really love hello Products because they don’t have a bunch of crap in them – no artificial sweeteners, no artificial flavors, no dyes, no preservatives, no microbeads. It makes NO sense to me when toothpaste (or medicine) has coloring and a bunch of gross stuff in it. hello Products are also vegan and made in the USA, so that’s pretty cool as well. The only downside is that my kids like their new ‘pastes so much that they always ask me for more after they’re done brushing. Seriously delish.