How do I get my kids to brush and floss their teeth?

You only get two sets of teeth in life. That's why it's so important to take care of them. However, trying to get a child to brush their teeth can sometimes feel like trying to get a cat to take a bath. Consequences of not brushing are expensive and unpleasant. So how can parents ensure their kids gets their teeth clean without resorting to tying them to the toilet every night?

5 simple and fun parenting tips to get your child to brush their teeth.

1. Give your child freedom and control over the entire process.

Start at the grocery store where your child can pick their favorite toothbrush and toothpaste. If they are excited about the tools, then they will be more excited about actually using them. When it's time to brush, let your child hold the toothbrush and squirt out the toothpaste. Even if some of the toothpaste gets spilled it's worth it. Letting your child learn to do it themselves goes a long way to prevent nightly battles. 

2. Set a routine.

A routine is always a good thing to set no matter what you are trying to get your child to do. If a child can predict what's coming next, they will be more agreeable to the task. Your routine will be unique to your family. You can brush teeth right after dinner or brush right before going to bed on time. Whatever you choose stick to the chore whenever possible, this helps the child recognize it as a natural part of their day, and begin to automate the behavior. 

3. Let your child brush your teeth and then switch.

This creative trick works because it gets you, the parent, involved. When your child knows you are a part of the process and not just bossing them around, they will be more open to brushing their teeth when and how you want them to. And while they are focused on brushing your teeth you can brush their teeth really good. 

4. Get the whole family involved.

Make brushing teeth a family event. Get everyone to crowd in the bathroom taking turns at the sink. Humans are naturally social creatures, and we like it when we can do things with others, especially family. Your child will feel accepted and will probably get excited and anticipate teeth brushing time with the family. 

5. Turn it into a game.

With everyone crowded in the bathroom, why not turn brushing teeth into a game? Think of some fun and crazy games you can play while brushing teeth. For example: see who can brush the longest, who can make the most bubbles, or who can sing while brushing their teeth. You can even see who can stand on one foot while brushing their teeth. The list can go on and on.