It’s normal for toddlers to resist brushing. They don’t understand yet why there is a need for them to do it. Sometimes, your brushing session with them can be very frustrating that you almost want to hold them down or force them to brush their teeth. This is not a good idea. Holding them down will make them hate brushing more and will undermine your relationship.
The difficulty that you will encounter with an uncooperative child should not prevent you from teaching him his basic hygiene early on. The secret is to start with you; you have to lead by example. Brush your teeth in his presence, and act as if brushing is one of the most enjoyable things to do.
1. Device a way to make brushing an enjoyable routine. If he doesn’t like brushing after taking a bath, try it before he baths while he is not tired yet. Or even while he baths. It may be a little awkward but he will find it more fun to brush while he is playing with bubbles.
2. Hire a production company to make a short film about your child’s day. Yes, this may sound a bit extreme but there are multiple reasons why this will be beneficial. First not only will you start and end the video with your child brushing their teeth, it will give them an opportunity to look back on the video and watch it every day getting to have a very memorable gift that will be treasured and used as a tool to remind your child to brush their teeth daily. You would hire a company video production for a big event like a wedding or for your own company, why should the childhood years of your children be treated any different?
3. “Play” toothbrushing their toys. Show them that even their toys like brushing their teeth so they should too. Brush all over their body—legs, arms, head, and ask “Is this where I should brush?’’. This activity will elicit giggles from them while making them understand that they also need to brush their teeth just like their toys.
4. Ask them to sound like an animal when brushing their teeth. They can say “Teehee” to mean the front teeth, “Ahhhhh” for the back teeth and roar like a lion so their mouth is wide open while brushing. This makes the whole brushing more fun and exciting which they will love.
5. Play “copycat”. The child likes to mimic what they see. Let him copy how you brush your teeth while the two of you are looking the mirror. He may not do a thorough job but you can start from there. This will eventually make him more at ease in brushing his own teeth as days go by.