Most kids learn lessons all day long – only some of which they’re actually excited to learn. Teach a child a popular sport or how to make cookies, and you’ll receive full attention. Teach a child to eat vegetables or to take a bath, and you’ll likely receive complaints plus some rejection. Unfortunately, oral health falls into the latter category… But not for long!
Thankfully, Dr. Angela Sullivan is no stranger to teaching kids about oral health. With three kids of her own and many more as Sullivan Family Dental patients, we’ve four helpful tips to take seriously. Ready or not, just watch those kids transfer their excitement to learning about oral health.
1. Let’s Play!
Based on your child’s age and where he/she falls in oral development, make a fun trivia game to play at mealtime. Designate one week each month or one night each week. You can call it About the Mouth Night or Dental Health Week. Invite your child to quiz parents and siblings. You can prepare flash cards for your child to color and decorate, using online resources or the local library for free.
2. Tooth Trip!
Put it on the calendar – Tooth Trip! Take a trip to the grocery store and discuss which foods and healthy snacks are good for our teeth and why. Based on the child’s age, encourage him/her to find food for every color in the rainbow. Invite your child to find 3 foods which would not be helpful for tooth decay, and travel down the dental hygiene aisle. At the end of the trip, allow your child to pick out a new toothbrush, toothpaste, and/or floss.
3. Chart it!
Charting visible progress is incredibly motivating (think star stickers and school attendance). Pick out some bright stickers of choice and prepare a simple daily grid for brushing, flossing, and healthy food choices. If you’re wondering what other categories to include, please contact us. We’ d love to help. Your child will be far more motivated if your entire family is held accountable. Set a timer in the bathroom for effective brushing or choose a song to play each time the family brushes together. Add parents and siblings to the chart, as well. When the week concludes, plan a family activity to celebrate the positive habits.
4. Schedule it!
Be sure your child is present when you schedule dentist appointments. Include them in the process to ‘plant the seed’ for a future habit of preventative dentistry. If your child is old enough, allow him/her to schedule the visit and fill out any forms as often as is possible. Be positive about the appointment and gentle if your child is nervous.
For more ideas on how we can help you grow your child see oral health as a positive experience, please call. We look forward to having you join the Sullivan Family.