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Friday, June 14, 2013

Toothbrushing For Toddlers

As much as we know that dental hygiene is important, and as Aiden starts eating more sweets like ice cream, fruits, cakes and continues to have his regular bottle of milk before sleep, it is with much difficulty that we get him to brush his teeth.

My mum who is his main caretaker on weekdays, attempts to brush his teeth after he falls asleep! I was amazed to see it work, as I thought he would startle and wake from his sleep. I wanted Aiden to get into the habit of brushing teeth daily and nightly, and to independently do it himself, so I did not adopt the same method.

Here are some of the ways I attempted to cultivate this habit in my 28 month old:

1) Link Toothbrushing With Daily Routine
I started by reading him books that relate to toothbrushing to encourage him to want to do so himself. It worked in getting him excited to go to the bathroom. I would try to coax Aiden into letting me brush his teeth and it would always end up a struggle as he would clamp his mouth shut, and I have to force him to let me brush those little teeth.

2) Monkey See, Monkey Do
I read about how toddlers learn best when they watch how adults do things - so with Daddy Darren, I let Aiden watch us brush our teeth and show him how fun it is, and allow him to brush his own teeth independently. This worked initially but he seemed to enjoy sucking water off the toothbrush instead of brushing the right way.

3) Treating Him Like A Big Boy
This worked for me! It started when I wanted Aiden to be more independent and not always rely on me to carry him to wash his hands (as he could not reach the wash basin as yet). I set aside a low stool for him, so he can pull it in place, climb onto it and reach the tap easily when he wants to wash his hands. He was very pleased with himself when he first accomplished handwashing all by himself, and I was also happy this baby has grown to be more independent. He initiated toothbrushing himself, as he could now see himself in the bathroom mirror and his toothbrush was right beside him when he was on the stool. He takes some water in a cup and placed it carefully on the basin.
I placed a cup in the bathroom for him to use for rinsing his mouth.
He enjoys it better when he can see himself brushing his teeth in the mirror.
I decided to start him on toothpaste, those sweet strawberry flavored ones but I only squeezed a teeny weeny bit on his toothbrush. He keeps asking me to top up the toothpaste and we would repeat this over 4 times. Nowadays it becomes quite a struggle as he insists on putting on toothpaste himself - and it's not the teeny weeny bit I usually put, but a huge blob of it!
Happy brushing my 28 month old!
Anyhow, I am glad that he now goes to brush his teeth happily. We would now need to work harder on teaching him the right and thorough way of toothbrushing.

Please share any tips you have in guiding your kids in the correct way of toothbrushing!

2 comments:

  1. Good job mummy and Aiden! Totally agree with the monkey see monkey do - we had our boys lining up to have their teeth brushed by daddy, and now at 3 and 5, they've been brushing their own teeth, but of course I will give it a quick brush after they're done, since they are still young after all, and I'm just happy that they're willing and able to brush themselves!

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  2. Thanks for dropping by Ed :) it's not a routine now so I've got to work on that with Aiden. Thanks for sharing too!

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