With four kids running around my house, that’s a whole lot of teeth to keep up with, and as much as I’d like to say my kids are always excited and enthusiastic about brushing their teeth on their own for those seemingly endless two minutes that’s recommended by our dentist, it’s just not true. Don’t even get me started about flossing.
We’re thrilled to welcome our newest sponsor Reassurance Dental, which offers a dental discount plan that covers your entire family. It’s not dental insurance, but rather, a really affordable alternative; in fact, even if you have dental insurance, it can also act as a supplement for procedures your insurance doesn’t happen to cover. In other words, it can definitely help you save money, which we are big fans of around here.
And we all know that frequent tooth brushing means potentially fewer dental visits down the road. So, on their behalf — and hopefully, yours — I’m sharing 5 simple tips to help get your kids more motivated to brush their teeth more independently without you reminding them. Or in some cases, begging them.
And perhaps, maybe they’ll even brush more without whining, though I can’t make any promises.
1. Presentation is everything.
I’ve realized as a parent that it’s all about how things look when it comes to getting kids excited about doing nearly anything. Hey, it works for trying new foods. So why not for brushing teeth? Start by setting up the kids’ own little tooth brushing area in the bathroom, and make it feel like a special area just for them. This way they know exactly where it is, where to go for the things they need, and the fact that its theirs alone.
You’ll definitely need a toothbrush holder, and they’ve come a very long way from the plain plastic or metal ones I always had growing up. I’m in love with these hilarious DIY dinosaur toothbrush holders over at All This For Them, that are fairly easy to make. Or, if you’re not so crafty, you can buy a cool handmade dinosaur toothbrush holder on Etsy. Ooooh, gold.
Another fun alternative are the Flipper toothbrush holders which just pop right on your mirror or tiled wall. And of course, there’s always a fun, plastic (i.e. non-breakable) cup. Whichever you choose, it’s not just about giving your child a place to put the toothbrush back every morning and night — somewhere that’s not the toilet seat or bathroom floor — but about keeping any bacteria or other stuff from the bathroom sink off the toothbrush bristles.
(Well, mostly, anyway).
2. Let the kids pick their own toothbrushes
There are no shortage of cool electric toothbrushes for kids, which my own dentist always recommends. I’m a fan in particular of the Philips Sonicare rechargeable toothbrush for kids, which at $40 features a built-in timer, two modes, and replaceable heads that are easy to track down. No scouring the Internet to try to find them if you’re overdue to change them. (Just me?)
You’ll also find plenty of less expensive options, like Firefly toothbrushes which feature all sorts of func characters and light up for the allotted two minutes of brushing. There are even Star Wars light saber toothbrushes (above) which I wish came in adult sizes.
I’ve really found that if the toothbrush happens to match kids interests, it goes a long way. Speaking of which, will someone make a Minecraft toothbrush already?
3. Get a timer.
I realize that lots of toothbrushes come with timers, but I have to say that one of the best investments I made was a timer for the bathroom, because there’s just no arguing with a bell or a traditional sand-based timer. This simple toothbrushing timer at Pottery Barn Kids does the trick for me.
Of course, there are a bunch of apps you can use too, and if you’re going to be in the bathroom helping younger kids brush, it may be most convenient to just use an app on your phone. I love the idea of the Brush DJ app, which takes a random tune or one right off your playlist and plays for two minutes. As a former music professor who’s recommended the use of music as a timing tool for kids, this is so smart.
You could always threaten to sing for two minutes straight, which might be enough to get your kids to do whatever you want just to make you stop. Ha.
About our sponsor
To save money on your family’s dental bill, take a look at what Reassurance Dental has to offer. For just $14.95/month, you’ll get a card that’s ready to use as soon as you buy it, with unlimited cost savings. That means if you pick a dentist from the list of 130,000+ that accept the Reassurance Dental plan, almost all dental work is included, from routine check-ups to braces. This means you may cut your bills from 15% to 50% per visit.
Plus, if the savings on your dental care for the year add up to less than your dental plan’s annual cost, they’ll actually pay the difference back to you.
A 30-day money back guarantee means it’s worth it to give it a shot for a month and see if Reassurance Dental works for your family. Anyone have braces coming up?
4. Give the kids a visual reminder.
There’s something so smart and simple to place a fun visual reminder right on your wall. You’ll find tons of options over at Etsy that look more like modern art, than a propaganda dental message strategically placed to bug your kids.
This Brush Your Teeth printable at I Love Printable caught my eye, and hey, it’s only $5! I think the key is to find something that matches your own taste and decor, but still gets the message across pretty clearly. This way, all you have to ask your kids is, what does the sign say?” Or better, just point to it without having to say anything at all.
5. Use charts and rewards. (Not candy rewards.)
If your kids respond to charts as a tool like mine do, it’s definitely worth a try. And hey, they certainly don’t need to be high maintenance. Around here, if my kids remember to brush without a reminder (or whining), they get a sticker. Pretty basic. After they’ve hit a certain number of days in a row like this, they can earn a prize, or a marble for the Marble Jar. Brush your teeth for a week, get a little screen time or a movie night. Works for me.
We’ve featured lots of cool printable reward charts, like these from Key Lime on Etsy. I like that it’s so easy, kids can keep track on their own, which I think is even better than you doing it. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get to the point where you don’t even need it at all.
Thanks to our sponsor Reassurance Dental for making it easier for families to save money on their dental care. They also include vision and prescription discounts too!