Flossing is a chore even for adults, and just brushing can be a chore for kids. Some of the more responsible adults have learned the benefits of flossing and have incorporated it in to their regular routine. However, how many kids did anyone know growing up that actually flossed? Maybe for a few weeks, parents would try to get their kids to floss but in nearly every situation, the kid ended up nixing that step of home dental care. For adults, getting yourself to floss is like getting yourself to do chores; you just have to, so you do it. But, for kids, learning to floss
- Make it FUN!
How are you supposed to do this? Well, that’s kind of up to you and depends on how well you know your kid. Some kids like music (who doesn’t?) Try playing a short song that’s around 2 minutes so they can learn to brush for the correct time. Sometimes, kids like to hear a good story while they brush their teeth. Listening to a loved one telling a great story of good and evil could be enough to keep their attention. Other ways, for the more inquisitive kids, is to show them their mouths. Have them count their teeth. Maybe they can see new teeth breaking through the gums. Be creative.
- Get them some flossing tools
The recommended foot and a half of floss is kind of hard for little fingers to handle. But if you go to the store, you’ll find floss sticks! They’re much funkier-looking than regular floss and they come in all sorts of colors. On top of that, they are very easy to use. It is important to teach your kids to use them correctly, though. Because, just like regular floss, it can harm your gums if you push too hard and won’t do its job if you don’t get it in between the gums! Floss sticks usually come in packs of at least 50, so they should last for a while. Just make sure your kids throw them away between uses!
- Brush your teeth together!
There’s no on that young kids like to be with more than their parents. They look up to you and will learn many of their habits and attitudes from you. It’s not surprising that they will also learn hygiene habits from you, which of course includes dental health! Making it an occasion for them every morning and night to brush their teeth is a sure-fire way to get them to create a good habit!
- Set up a flossing/ incentive chart!
Some stores actually sell charts like this, but you can make do with any sort of chart or even a calendar. Get some of your kid’s favorite stickers and put on a sticker for every day in a row that they floss or brush their teeth at least twice. Tell them that there will be a prize at the end (Kids love prizes) of the week. Make sure that the prize isn’t too big or too small, and make sure it isn’t money. Maybe give them some extra time on the weekends or a trip somewhere. Make sure that they don’t brush/floss just for the prize though. They should develop a habit and understand that brushing is genuinely good for them.
Of course, every child is different. Whatever method you choose, make sure it is right for your child. As always, if your child is experiencing tooth discomfort or if you can actually see something wrong with their teeth, bring them in right away! We cannot stress enough how important it is that your children’s teeth are healthy!