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OK so you know the script ...
The morning rush ... no bags packed, no clothes ready, breakfast barely eaten, eyeing up yesterday's coffee because no time to make more, you missed the message in school book bag advising pirate costume needed this morning AND somehow you've got to get them into the bathroom AND somehow you've got to get them to clean their teeth for 2 blinking minutes!
It's enough to make a grown woman cry! It really is! I have a high powered, globe trotting friend who is literally reduced to tears by her complete inability to get her children to clean their teeth in the morning.
Our own attempts are not made easier by the requirement that I clean baby bear's teeth as well. Baby bear is imaginary. Mummy can't see baby bear. Mummy has to guess where baby bear is standing. Mummy usually guesses wrong and is advised - after she has wafted a toothbrush in the air for several minutes - that he is "over there" ....!!!!
Although, I count myself lucky. I heard of one woman whose toddler would only allow their teeth to be cleaned by the family cat. This woman did in desperation, every morning and evening, grab said moggy under one arm and the toddler under the other to get her little darling's teeth clean!
As it is a truth universally acknowledged that getting your children to clean their teeth is a complete nightmare - I had to slip a tribute to Jane in somewhere today - I thought we could all use some tips on how to win the battle and I've put together a list of 20 of them plus links to some great posts from other mums about their tooth brushing traumas and triumphs!
20 Tips to Encourage Children to Clean their Teeth
- Clean your teeth at the same time Growing a Jewelled Rose
- Stick to absolute standard routine as to when they are done
- Have a morning & evening routine picture board that helps them transition from play
- Dole out stickers and more stickers and more stickers!
- A sticker chart + when they fill it they get a new tooth brush - Confessions of a Slacker Mum
- Make a race out of it
- Have a small special brush for dollies so their teeth can be cleaned at same time
- Get an electric toothbrush - there's a review here from Mummy Mummy Mum
- Let them look in a mirror whilst they are doing it - young kids find themselves hilarious
- If they want to do it all themself get another brush so that you can take it in turns and they do some and then you do some Mommy of Two Little Monkeys
- Tell a story which stops if the brushing stops
- Let them clean them in the bath so not so boring
- Let them brush your teeth
- Sing Simon Says brush your teeth like ... making up funny ways to brush your teeth
- Buy a special mum-designed Tooth Timer that goes off after 2 minutes
- Find a song on your iPod (whatever) that is 2 minutes long
- If desparate let them brush in front of video Mommy of Two Little Monkeys
- Talk about germs - all kids interested
- Try this fab experiment from First Grade Factory that helps children to understand how they get holes in their teeth by leaving an egg in a glass of vinegar over night which causes the egg shell to dissolve
- And if you loved that experiment try this one from Milk and Cuddles in which you leave a white egg in a glass of cola until it goes horribly brown and stained and then miraculously clean it with toothpaste!
I would love to hear about your tooth brushing tips and your traumas - do come and tell me about them on Facebook or Twitter. And for more ideas on helping children to clean their teeth check out this Pinterest board