Kai had most of his baby teeth early on. He had all of them before he reached the one-year-old mark. I heard stories from my friends that their babies’ teeth came out late. So there I was, excited about using the little toothbrush for my little man’s toddler teeth.
At first, he enjoyed it as mommy was the one who gently brushed those little pearly whites. Eventually, he learned how to hold the brush all by himself and he wasn’t even two years old at that time. Soon, I switched from infant toothpaste to kid’s toothpaste (you know those that come in fancy flavors like grape, bubblegum, and strawberry) by the time he was two and somehow he didn’t like it. Little by little, he developed an aversion to teeth brushing and that was the time when he learned how to say “No” like a boss.
So how do you get a stubborn toddler to brush his teeth? I don’t know for now but some of the more experienced parents have some advice and it starts with choosing the right toothbrush.
Pick a fun-looking toothbrush
Kai’s toothbrush when he was an infant was a musical one – one that makes a jingly sound when shaken. Soon, he used a character toothbrush and then I moved to a regular-looking toothbrush designed for toddlers. Now, as I’m writing this, I realize that his toothbrush is no fun at all. So I might get him a cute one that might make a sound next time I head to the mall.
Toddlers like to mimic what their parents are doing. Oh darn, does this mean I don’t brush my teeth then? We co-shower at times and I take him to brush his toddler teeth. It was fine until he learned how to become stubborn and there it was — it won’t work even if I brush with him. But let’s start from the beginning shall we. Consistency is key.
It’s in the toothpaste
A close friend of mine who has a four-year-old told me it could be in the toothpaste. If the kid loves the taste, then most probably he’ll brush his toddler teeth with it. I’ve tried bubblegum- and grape-flavors but I don’t think Kai enjoys them. The only time he enjoyed toothpaste was when he was an infant. We used Tiny Fangs from Tiny Buds Baby Naturals – and they have different flavors for different stages. I’m going to get it and see if Kai remembers that he once loved it.
Make brushing teeth a fun time
Kids love to have fun and our Kai is no exception. So if you’re having a hard time getting your toddler to brush, sing along with him or her or even be crazy during brush time. Whatever works.
Watch YouTube videos
My toddler picked up a lot of things from watching YouTube Kids. He watched this Daniel the Tiger channel about teaching kids how to potty and brushing their teeth. Once I told him that he needs to brush his teeth, and he responded, “Like Daniel the Tiger?” and off he went.
There was a time when Kai loved brushing his teeth and there was a time when he doesn’t want to have to do anything with it. But now, our little booger enthusiastically wants to brush his teeth.
What did you do to let your kid learn to brush his/her teeth on his or her own? Would love to hear your stories in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Air Force Photo/Dennis Rogers]