Stubborn kids refusing to brush? 5 tips to get difficult children brushing their teeth

Brushing is an essential skill and habit that’s best to teach your child early, setting them up with good oral hygiene habits that will last a lifetime.

While it’s incredibly important, with some kids, getting them to brush their teeth can be challenging – often at times feeling like a battle.

In this post, we attempt to give you a few handy tips which you can use to make the process easier, helping to turn your child’s reluctance into eagerness by turning brushing from a chore into a fun, playful activity.

But before that – let’s talk about what a good brushing routine looks like and why it’s important to have one.

What does a “good” brushing routine look like?

Well, it depends on their age.

Brushing should start as soon as your child gets their first tooth – typically, that occurs at around six months. Remember that you won’t yet be using a brush; instead, use a damp piece of cloth or gauze, gently wiping their gums after feedings.

It won’t be until they graduate from babies to toddlers that you’ll start brushing. Pick out a toothbrush designed specifically for smaller mouths, a toothpaste for baby teeth, and get them brushing for at least two minutes, twice daily.

That’s it really – simple. There’s no need to overcomplicate it, just find a routine that works, and make sure to stick to it.  

5 tips to get difficult children brushing their teeth

If you’ve made it this far, you already know the basics. However, as any parent will tell you, children aren’t always the easiest – they can be stubborn and challenging, even at the best of times.

This is why we created this article, giving you five sure-fire tips to get difficult children brushing. So, let’s jump right into it.

1. Pick a routine and stick to it

It’s crucial to establish routines for your child when it comes to most things – brushing their teeth is no different.

We understand that sometimes as parents, it can be tempting to put off or skip brushing after a long day or during times when your normal routine is out the window, like when traveling or on vacation. It’s essential not to give in, sticking to the routine as much as possible.

This will pay off in the long run, as brushing will become second nature, helping your little one develop good brushing habits that will last a lifetime.

2. Good behavior shouldn’t go unrewarded

One way to reinforce good habits is with a system of rewards. This can be as simple as making a reward chart, giving your child a sticker each time they brush their teeth.

You could include other rewards – like picking out a bedtime story – or other activities with similar developmental benefits.

Be mindful not to spoil them! This means don’t work toys or candy into your reward system, as these won’t help you down the road and could potentially lead to other issues later on.

3. Make brushing more fun

With a little effort, you can turn brushing from something mundane into a fun activity for you and your child to enjoy together.

Perhaps come up with a song, or turn brushing into a story – whatever works for you. Doing this is great not only for brushing but also for bonding.

You might also want to incorporate plush dinosaur toys that you have around the house or even invest in a set of dino hand puppets. These can be great at bringing any stories or songs to life, maximizing the fun you have together when brushing.

4. Invest in themed toothbrushing kit

Another great way to make brushing fun is to invest in brushes and toothpaste that reflect your child’s interests or let them help pick these out themselves.

If your little one is obsessed with dinosaurs, picking out a dinosaur toothbrush can be a great option.

It doesn’t have to be dinos – there are a ton of great character toothbrushes on the market to choose from, so you’re bound to find the perfect one to appeal to your child.

5. Make brushing something for all the family

Children are like sponges – they copy and pick-up habits from the adults around them.

This means that if you turn brushing into a family activity, with everyone getting together to brush at the same time, they’ll end up being more eager and willing to brush their teeth.

Doing this is also another great way to reinforce family ties and bonding, bring all the family closer together – leading to stronger bonds and relationships in the future.  

Final thoughts

So, there you have it – five simple tips you can use to help get your little one brushing without them kicking up a stink.

There are no secrets here – and you don’t need to be some super nanny – try to make it more fun, and they’ll be happy to brush in no time.

That’s it. Happy brushing!

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