We know that kids hate anything to do with brushing and flossing their teeth. Too often we find that their toothbrush hasn’t been touched in a couple of days (or that they aren’t brushing enough or correctly). While getting them to brush is often a struggle, getting them to floss may be even harder. Hopefully though, the below suggestions will give you some help to getting your little one to floss more (or to not fight you when you start teaching them about the importance of flossing daily).
1. Have a flossing guide / chart / graph / etc. in the bathroom. This is a great way to help your child keep flossing daily. Try using stickers on the chart, one for each day they remember to floss. Making it like a game where they can win a little reward at the end of the week or the month also helps keep them on track and goal oriented. Non-monetary rewards work better, such as staying up an extra half hour on the weekends. Many dentists offices offer charts for no cost.
2. Try to make flossing fun for your child. Excellent examples of how to get them to floss is to find a good song (with a steady beat) that they can floss in time too (just be careful that the beat isnt too fast, since going to fast can hurt, irritate or damage gums). Since kids love looking into their mouths, another tip that many dentist recommend is to have them count their teeth while flossing. Not only are they engaged, but they are learning too!
3. Get them nice oral care products made for kids. Kids don’t want to use Listerine which can have a slight tingly feeling and they don’t want boring baking soda toothpaste. Instead, ACT for Kids offers great mouthwash flavors and toothpaste colors and flavors. There are also dental picks and floss sticks that come with different colors, and if you want to splurge, some even have Disney or other cartoon characters on the handles. Making it kid friendly makes them more apt to participate.
4. Praise them for the good habits. Always tell your child that you are proud of them for taking care of their teeth. Tell them not only are you proud, but because they can take care of their teeth themselves, they are starting to mature and be a big boy or big girl. Your children will delight in hearing that and it should bring a smile to your face too!
5. Practice what you preach! Ever catch your kids imitating the things you do? Well flossing is a good one to teach them! By flossing yourself, you are setting a good example for your kids and they are more likely to do what you do.
Hopefully some of these tips will help you and your child get better at a flossing routine without the nagging or tantrums!