Children thrive on structure. Giving them regular nighttime routines, waking them up at the same time each morning and eating meals together each day helps them feel secure. They love knowing what to expect, and they become accustomed to fulfilling your expectations, too.
In fact, researchers with Reuters recently performed a study on over 8500 children, and the daily routines they practice in the home. Researchers found that consistent habits built up in the home were linked to 47% increases in the likelihood those children would be well adjusted emotionally and socially.
Children who learn consistent habits in the home are 47% more likely to be well-adjusted emotionally and socially
Starting a consistent brushing habit is one routine that will benefit your child as they grow. They will sleep better at night when they take their bath, brush their teeth and get tucked into bed, giving them a sense of accomplishment and familiarity that lets them drift right off to sleep.
This routine will also lower your stress levels, as bedtime becomes easier and you worry less about cavities. Here are a few tips to get this new routine started.
Brush Your Teeth Together
A family-wide brushing time may be the most effective way to get your kids started on a regular nightly brush routine. Put an extra toothbrush in their bathroom so you can model proper brushing motion.
Remember, your kids won’t do this perfectly, and you will have to help them for years before you can let them do it alone. Watch to make sure they are not swallowing a lot of toothpaste and that they reach their back teeth, too.
Allow Children to Choose Their Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Kids love doing things on their own. They will be thrilled to pick a brush featuring their favorite cartoon character and bubble gum-flavored toothpaste, and that excitement will carry over to brushing time.
Put a Timer in the Bathroom
One thing children and adults too often struggle with is how long to brush. Many do not do it for as long as dentists recommend. Setting a timer for 2 minutes lets them gauge the correct amount of time to spend on their teeth. This routine will also be useful for after breakfast, when the morning rush may lead them to cut down on brush time.
Don’t Forget to Floss
Many parents skip flossing for their kids because they figure they “only” have baby teeth, and those don’t need the extra care. That is incorrect. If you cannot visibly see spaces in between your child’s teeth, then you should start flossing. You will have to assist them at first. You can use traditional string floss or flossers with handles, whichever works best in your hands. Be cautious with using dental “picks,” as these can often cause trauma to the gum tissue if used incorrectly. Establishing good flossing habits early on shows them how important this oft-neglected habit is to dental health and builds a life-long habit that will pay long-term benefits.
Praise Them for Their Efforts
Kids love when parents acknowledge their hard work. Tell your child how proud you are of their brushing effort and mention some of the improvements they have made since you started your nighttime brushing routine. Before long, you may find your kids are the ones reminding you to brush and floss each night.