Below are several tried and true tricks for encouraging children to care for their teeth. Plus we included 2 fun, festive activities! Thanksgiving is a wonderful reminder to express gratitude, reflect on our blessings, and to be a blessing to others. In this month’s article, we share two kid-friendly activity ideas for creating a spirit of true thankfulness.
HOW TO ENCOURAGE CHILDREN TO BRUSH THEIR TEETH
We know you want your little one to be healthy, and better yet - to enjoy caring for their own health! Here are some of our tried and true tips to make teeth brushing FUN for kids.
MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO. Simply telling a little one to brush their teeth has less positive results than taking the time and brushing your teeth WITH your child. When you brush your teeth with them, they will better understand HOW to polish their own pearly whites and how much time to dedicate to brushing. They look up to you and learn best from your actions! So use this quality time together to BOTH clean up your smiles!
TAKE THEM TO A PEDIATRIC DENTIST! We at Sunshine Children's Dentistry specialize in serving children, so our office is designed to be fun and kid-friendly. Additionally, we solely focus on the health and development of pediatric smiles. Regularly scheduled appointments can ensure that your child is getting the best care possible, and it may help them feel accountable when caring for their own smiles at home!
LET THEM CHOOSE THEIR TOOTHBRUSH. Nowadays, there are so many fun colors and characters to choose from when picking out a toothbrush. Some children's toothbrushes even light up for a certain amount of time to indicate the length of time to brush. An interesting design can help spark enthusiasm with oral hygiene. Our office provides fun toothbrush options to our patients.
FLAVORED TOOTHPASTE FOR THE WIN! If your child's mouth is sensitive to the strong mint flavor of adult's fluoride toothpaste, opt for a children's flavored toothpaste. Not only are some children's toothpastes designed to be safe to swallow, they can also come in exciting flavors such as strawberry, watermelon, and bubblegum.
HAVE CONVERSATIONS ABOUT HEALTHY HABITS. Another way for your child to have a greater appreciation for the health of their smile is to boost their interest in their overall health. For example, at the dinner table you could inform your child about why certain fruits and veggies are good for their body and how calcium-rich foods strengthen their teeth and bones.
CREATE A REWARDS SYSTEM. If your child responds well to positive reinforcement, perhaps allow your child to earn points, stickers, or tickets for each time they do a fabulous job brushing and flossing. Allow them to cash in and earn a reward, such as a small toy, healthy treat, or a fun activity to do together.
GRATITUDE IDEA #1: CHILDREN’S THANKFUL HANDS
Create this beautiful piece of art with your children this Thanksgiving. All you will need is some colorful paper, a glue stick, scissors, and markers.
Start by outlining each of your children's hands on various colors of paper.
Cut out the handprints, and glue them onto a contrasting color of construction paper. Allow your children to decorate the background paper with markers.
On each handprint, allow your children to write down what they are thankful for. (You can assist them with this step if your children are still learning to write.) See below for "thankfulness topics" to help spark their gratitude and creativity.
Be sure to write the year and your children's ages. Display at your Thanksgiving feast for everyone to enjoy.
Below are just a few examples to help you get started...
RELATIONSHIPS: Family, Friends, Pets, Teachers, Neighbors (& Dentist!)
TALENTS: Music, Sports, Reading, Artwork, Dancing, Singing
INVOLVEMENT: Teams, Music Lessons, Regular Playdates
GOODNESS THIS YEAR: Blessings that made you smile
FAVORITE EXPERIENCES: Virtual Explorations, New Things Learned, Vacation, Aquarium, Bowling, Beach, Visiting a Friend
POSSESSIONS: Home, Toys, Games, Books, Clothes, Yummy Food
GRATITUDE IDEA #2: START A FAMILY GRATITUDE JOURNAL
Start a holiday tradition that lasts all year long, and for years to come.
Create a "Gratitude Journal" for your family. It is a tangible way each member of your family can express what they are thankful for. Since the theme of Thanksgiving Day is thankfulness, perhaps choose a time before or after dinner for each person to write in the journal.
Date and autograph each entry. Everyone can be involved! Let young children say aloud their list of blessings for an adult to write. Children can also draw pictures of what they are grateful for.
Decide on the frequency of your Gratitude Entries. For example, you may begin with Thanksgiving, but also choose to add to the journal on holidays, birthdays, and milestone moments.
Reflect on your blessings throughout the year. The journal will be a source of joy and encouragement as you look back at the Gratitude Entries in the months and years to come. And just think how precious your journal will be with excerpts from grandparents and distant relatives who have the opportunity to contribute!
To ensure all your children’s teeth are ready to SMILE all year long, be sure to visit Sunshine Children’s Dentistry. The American Dental Association recommends oral checkups twice annually for children (and adults, too). QUESTIONS? We are a resource to you and are happy to answer any questions you may have about your child’s changing smile. We believe that oral health should be FUN and something to SMILE about!
We at Sunshine Children's Dentistry are THANKFUL for our patients!
Your family is a blessing to everyone at our office. Thank you for the honor of serving you! If you ever need to reach us, our number is 910.762.7736.
For more helpful resources and fun activities, be sure to read our other Blog Articles.