When my children were younger, like all kids they wanted to do what mommy and daddy did. Of course that meant that mommy and daddy worried that they were doing what they saw and not getting their teeth clean. So we developed the “let me try” approach which went a little something like this:
For finding spots that needed to be flossed before they brushed we would “try” to find food particles between their teeth. Sometimes we eye-balled it; others, we would find food with the floss. If we found it with the floss we “failed” our first try, but that was okay because their teeth were still clean.
During the brushing phase it was hard to get them to do more than wiggle their arms up and down, imitating the movements, but not really getting their teeth clean. So we would encourage them to “let me try” to brush their teeth. The flip side to that would be to let them try to brush our teeth. This was when we took the time to show them proper technique because, as any parent knows, young kids are very hard to teach.
As for rinsing their mouth it was hard to get them to learn how to do this without swallowing it. So we started giving them water in the bathtub and they would “try” to get the water to the wall like we did instead of swallowing it. This started well before we actually gave them any of the rinse, but having the practice made us feel comfortable that they would have the skill when the time came.
Getting kids to take care of their teeth has to be taken from the “fun” to the “necessary” because healthy habits are so important to start early. My husband and I tried, and I’m happy to report, we are greeted with brilliantly white smiles from the now teenagers from time to time.
A big thanks to Listerine Kids for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.