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Location, location, location

Have you thought about brushing your child’s teeth in a different place to the bathroom? Maybe the kitchen? The car? The shower? 

Exploring different places to brush can help reduce friction with the brushing routine, and here is why it works!

Discussion - talk about your routine in relation to brushing ahead of time. This gives your children time to digest and understand when and why brushing is going to happen.

In the know - children (especially toddlers!), want to know what is going on so there are no surprises. Children thrive on consistency and predictability. Which is why you set the time for brushing, but allow for

Choice - children feel empowered by choices & control, by giving your children a say in how their life looks builds relationships and strengthens cooperation. It fulfils their natural desire to feel powerful and valued. So give them some options (that work for you to try brushing) “would you like to brush your teeth in the kitchen or in the bathroom?"

Environmental cues - habits can be triggered by environmental ques, this means that when your child is in that place again, they think about brushing. So make sure you choose places that work for you and your family.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need water to brush your teeth. Put the toothpaste (grain of rice for child 0-3 years, size of a pea for children over 3) onto a dry brush. Spit out the excess into a nearby sink or empty bottle, and don’t rinse out the excess! The toothpaste sits on the teeth making them strong!

Flexible structure - you set the boundaries on when brushing will take place, they have the choice on where. Keep the time the same each time, and be consistent with this.

Places to try brushing

Shower - I brush my teeth everyday in the shower. I have done this for many years, and so this environmental que triggers the brushing routine for me. It’s so deeply ingrained that if I don’t shower in the morning (like on the weekend) I can totally forget to brush my teeth. Additionally, if I add an extra shower in for any reason outside of my normal routine, I find myself brushing my teeth again without even thinking. This is how powerful environmental cues can be, so be sure to use them to your advantage!

Car - This one can be great if your mornings are a rush and you have a car journey each day to school.  Make sure you have an empty bottle, and some tissues to hand for spitting into and wiping your mouth after!

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