The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our everyday life in so many ways. Even your child’s brushing has been thrown off! Support your child’s brushing during the pandemic by following these easy steps.
1. Reconnect with the routine that you had before the pandemic.
Even the most routine tasks have become more difficult during quarantine, school closures, and your (the parent) increasing frustrations with delays and closures make even the most basic routine difficult.
Although your child may not wake up at the same time or have the same routine, it’s important to find a new time for him or her to brush. Maybe after breakfast or after dinner may be a better time than the usual times. Be creative and make it a part of the curriculum before school!
2. Use a visual chart
You probably use calendars, productivity tools, and to-do lists in your work life. Having a checklist helps decrease cognitive load for you — and for your kids. In fact, you can use visual checklists with children as young as 2!
Creating a chart that notes the steps for your child’s dental hygiene routine (everything from start to finish) will help take the pressure off you. Rather than you dictating what they have to do, you can just point to the chart and ask your child “what’s next?”
You can photograph your child doing each step of their dental hygiene routine, and then print those photos and create a little booklet that goes next to their toothbrush.
Another option is to use teacherpayteachers.com. At the link, you can select from a wide variety of dental hygiene charts that are available for download (for a small fee).
3. Allow your child to do the brushing, and then you do “finishing touches.”
This tactic is especially helpful for toddlers and preschoolers who want to “do it myself!” You can allow them to brush their teeth for as long as they like. Then, when they are finished (or bored) you come in to do the “finishing touches.”
The next night, you can offer to go first, and they get to do finishing touches. Switching roles will allow them to feel a sense of accomplishment and ownership. This will also get their routine back on course!
4. Talk about how brushing our teeth is just like washing our hands.
By connecting brushing teeth with other routine hygiene rituals, you are able to reinforce the importance of both. You can share how doing those specific activities empower your child to do the things that they enjoy.
For example: We wash our hands for 20+ seconds to keep our bodies healthy so that we can move and dance and play. We brush our teeth for 2 minutes to keep our teeth healthy. We need healthy teeth so that we can eat our favorite foods and sing songs and pretend to be a lion.
5. Change up their toothpaste or toothbrush.
Make brushing exciting again! If your child doesn’t want the spin or sonic toothbrush then maybe their favorite character toothbrush will get them excited about brushing again. You should change their toothbrushes every 2 to 3 months.
Also make sure that you have different kinds of toothpaste to keep your child’s brushing routine exciting. Some kids prefer the fruity flavors while others prefer the light mint kind. If your child doesn’t like toothpaste allow them to brush with just water. Bargain with them to brush every other night with the toothpaste or 3 nights a week. Remember that it’s all about the elbow grease of brushing that works.
6. Cut yourself some slack.
If you and your child are especially burnt out from the day, go easy on yourself. While you don’t want to let them skip brushing their teeth, ease up on the timing or location.
Perhaps you can let them brush their teeth while they are in the tub, laying in your lap on the couch, watching their favorite show, or dancing in front of the mirror in their room.
Monitoring and supporting your child’s dental hygiene habits may feel overwhelming right now — but every step you take matters.
Also, don’t forget: we are here to support you. We can meet with you and your child virtually, if coming into the office isn’t viable for your family. Give us a call at 336-887-9277 to discuss all your options. Plus…
CLICK HERE for a coupon for a FREE first visit with us. All first visits for children 2 years and under are absolutely FREE!