Aquafresh celebrates the launch of the new Disney Pixar film “Inside Out” by exploring a range of emotions children experience at brush time. To help celebrate this, Aquafresh sent out some special brush packs which arrived in their own unique Inside out wash bags.
Research has proved that parents often struggle to get children to brush their teeth and I totally agree with this research as I struggle getting all 3 of my children to brush their teeth and brush them correctly and for the required amount of time. I often feel embarassed when the dentist picks up on problems and asks about their diets as I limit sweets and chocolate. The issue is getting them to brush their teeth correctly. Of course I brush Izebellas but even she is starting to show a lot of moody emotions at brush time and Ryan being 11 can be especially difficult.
Aquafresh have come up with their top ten tips to help make brushing teeth a little easier.
1. Great habits are caught not taught – take a close look at your own dental habits and make sure they are good enough to pass on.
2. Make brush time fun and brush your teeth when they brush theirs. Your child loves your attention and here is an ideal opportunity to enjoy time together. Choose a time when you are relaxed – not rushing to get out to the office or school – or tired at the end of a long day. Brush your teeth at the same time as they are brushing theirs. Take it in turns to brush each other’s teeth (prepare to get a bit wet!). Encourage them to open their mouths wide by roaring like a lion. The bathroom can be a real centre for the family and it is important to have fun there.
3. Show and tell them what you want them to do. Explain to your child what to do rather than what not to do. Parents find giving negative instructions stressful. And children find negatives very difficult to process. So rather than say ‘don’t forget to clean your back teeth’, say ‘remember to clean your back teeth’. Rather than say ‘don’t rush’ say ‘take your time and feel each tooth’.
4. Behaviour that gets attention gets repeated so catch your child ‘red-handed’ brushing their teeth well. Sometimes we tend to focus on the times our children aren’t doing what we want them to do and give them attention for the behaviour we want to discourage, e.g. “you aren’t cleaning your teeth properly”. When you see them holding their brush, concentrating on squeezing the toothpaste and making an effort – praise them. Describe what you are seeing them do and be as specific as you can and they will be much more likely to do it again.
5. Use apps, egg timers, gizmos and gadgets. Children have a very different concept of time from us. They may find it helpful to use the Aquafresh Brushtime App, a giant egg timer (or your kitchen one) or a musical toothbrush to help them understand how long they are supposed to brush for. Star charts and stickers can be powerful motivators, especially for young children. Location is important, so find a place for the sticker chart in the bathroom
6)Make instructions simple and young children will often find a visual map a really helpful way to reinforce spoken instructions. You can make these simply by getting them to draw pictures of what you want them to do in the morning or evening, have a family ‘photo shoot’ or have fun cutting pictures from magazines. You can laminate the pictures if you are feeling adventurous or blu tac them onto the fridge or wardrobe.
7. Enlist the help of a sibling or encourage a sleepover friend who is a good tooth brusher. Peer influence is powerful and if your child is reluctant having a brother, sister or buddy who enjoys cleaning their teeth can really help
8. Give choices and responsibility when you are teaching them. Say to them, ‘would you like to clean your teeth first or put on your pyjamas?’ They are going to do both anyway, but if they are in control and in the driving seat making choices – they are much likely to make it happen.
9. Get into the habit of using ‘when’ and ‘then’ – especially if ‘brushtime’ is a struggle – rather than threats and ultimatums … ‘if you don’t do this … you can’t have that’. So say ‘when you have cleaned your teeth, then we can have a cuddle and a story.’
10. Share books that involve teeth cleaning stories. Try ‘Brush Your Teeth Please’ by Leslie McGuire. It’s a pop-up book that is great fun and practical. I also like Ladybird’s Peppa Pig Dentist trip.
Brushtime emotions can vary gem child to child and depending on age but the main emotions displayed by children when told to brush teeth are Joy, Anger, Fear, Sadness, and Disgust.
The Inside out bags that we were sent contained lots of useful and fun items to help with brushing.
Age appropriate toothbrushes and toothpastes as there are different ones for younger and older children. Some fun toothbrush holders which are great for holding the toothbrushes on walls. A tooth brushing egg timer and a fun stress toy which is quite squishy and also good for stressed mummy’s and daddy’s during the six week holidays.
You can win your own brush kit as above over at the Aquafresh brush time website. There is also lots more information on brush time emotions and you can create a brush time chart too.