Raising kids is a difficult task, even for the most experienced of parents. Getting your kids to do things that are necessary for their survival, like eat and sleep, can be challenging enough, but forcing them to also to perform simple tasks that feel like chores is near impossible!
Cleaning is always a tricky subject with kids, whether it is scrubbing in the bath or picking up their toys. Stressing the importance of brushing their teeth is just as difficult. To make matters worse, kids cannot plan long-term or understand the concept of time, so explaining that their teeth will fall out in 40 years might as well be 400 or 4,000 years in their minds.
There are ways to reach them, but it is not always easy. First, you must lay the foundation by teaching them proper brushing techniques. Without the know-how, the purpose loses its meaning. Make brushing a game where you sing songs or make up stories while your kid brushes.
Secondly, set a good example. Why would your son want to brush every night if his daddy doesn’t do it?
You can also emphasize the importance of sticking on schedule by rewarding your child. Have them mark a calendar for each night and morning that they brush and at the end of the month, they get a reward (although we do not recommend candy).
If these habits are still not sinking in, you could try drastic measures. When you are out with your kid, engage a homeless person in conversation. While you are donating a dollar, your daughter will notice his missing teeth. When she asks later, tell her that the man didn’t brush when he was young. This may be a fib, but the resulting shock should convince her to brush every night before bed.
We see tons of patients each year who tell us that they wish they had paid better attention to their teeth when they were younger. While this is a noble belief, a kid cannot really control his responsibilities; it is the parent’s duty to make sure that the child learns the importance of good oral hygiene.