Tales from the Tooth: 5 Ways to Make Brushing More BearableCasey Mullins
Two minutes to brush, one minute to swish and another minute to floss? What’s seven minutes in a day? Nothing much right? I mean, I’m pretty sure I spend at least 7 minutes a day watching cat videos on YouTube and those moments just fly right on by. (Deadlines? What deadlines? LOOK AT THE CATS PLAYING PATTYCAKE!) However, seven minutes in a day to a seven year old is an ETERNITY when it comes to brushing her teeth.
“What am I supposed to do? Just stare at myself in the mirror?”
I started paying attention to what I do when I brush my teeth, I close my eyes. So does my husband, which makes for an excellent opportunity for me to shove our one eyed cat in his face. SURPRISE! ONE EYED CAT IN YOUR FACE! It never stops being funny. I’ve started looking into ways to make those few very important minutes spent brushing a little more interesting to Addie, and here’s a few ideas I’ve come up with.
- Don’t make them do it alone. Addie goes to bed at 8, I go to bed at uh, let’s just say I go to bed eventually. If I brush my teeth with her when she does, not only is she less bored, I’m less likely to shove my face full of popcorn as soon as I kiss her goodnight. It also sets a good example, and research has shown that example is the greatest influence when it comes to a child’s oral care habits.
- Sweet timers. I loved timers as a kid. Ones with buttons, ones with dials, ones that buzzed and the best of all? Those ones that were filled with sand. Sand timers are easy to find if you know where to look and come in every time increment imaginable. One one minute timer can be flipped back and forth twice for two minutes of brushing and one more time for swishing and rinsing. There’s no need for your kid to ask you how much time has passed, just look at the timer! If you look just a little bit harder you can find sand timers with colored sand, cool bases and funky designs.
- Sing a little song. On the nights I want to shove my face full of popcorn, I hang out with Addie while she brushes and I let her choose a song for her rinsing. Four rounds of Row Row Row your boat, two rounds of Yankee Doodle, Twinkle Twinkle or the Alphabet Song all come out to be about a minute. I’m not the best singer, but if it keeps Addie happy and her mouth healthy? So be it.
- Window Markers. These are available almost anywhere these days, or you can simply use a dry erase marker. Write a note, draw a mustache or crown or just some bossy toothbrushing directions. Change the note each night after they go to bed or while they’re away at school. Two minutes goes by a lot faster when you’re modeling a fancy handlebar mustache in the mirror while you brush.
- Keep it Common. We have Addie keep her toothbrush downstairs, that way when it’s time for her to brush her teeth we don’t have to send her away from whatever we may be doing and it’s also an easier (and sneakier) way to keep track of her brushing habits. I can only imagine that the baby seeing her sister brush her teeth is setting a good example as well. Having her toothbrush right nearby keeps her from goofing off as well…delaying bedtime and driving me batty.
Do you have any toothbrushing tricks to make time go faster? Do you surprise your husband with a cat while his eyes are closed too?
I received products from Johnson & Johnson as part of my participation in the LISTERINE® Kids Cavity-Free School Year Program. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own. Click here to see more of the discussion.
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