This post is in partnership with Universal Pictures.
It’s no secret getting a toddler to brush their teeth can be more of a chore than an essential part of your basic hygiene routine.
They run. They hide. They grimace. Anything they can to avoid it.
And when they do start brushing, it’s still a bit of a chore.
They load on the toothpaste and swallow it like candy (yikes!). Then they stroke their teeth for about 3 seconds and toss the brush into the sink when “done.”
Not very successful when you ask anyone, especially the dentist.
So I started to think. How can I get my kids to start brushing their teeth better…and actually cleaning their teeth rather than it just being a moment to sample the latest toothpaste flavor.
After some trial and error, we found a few teeth brushing tips that worked pretty well for our boys.
Make it part of the daily routine.
This is really the most important step to start getting your toddler practicing good brushing. Make sure you include brushing teeth as a main part of your morning or bedtime routines. Kids need consistency to learn pretty much anything so whether that means setting a timer for them to brush right before the bath-books-bedtime routine or reminding them to do so in the morning, make brushing part of their normal schedule so they can get used to it.
Add a fun song.
When you want your toddler to do something, make it seem less like a chore and more like a game. Adding a fun, memorable song is an easy way to get your kids more excited about brushing. With my oldest we would use a twist off a familiar song like “Brush, brush, brush your teeth, every single day.” instead of “Row, row, row your boat.” Worked well!
Okay, this is an important step most parents sometimes forget. Because it seems so basic. We would often just tell our kids to brush their teeth, pointing to where they should brush. But when we started to actually brush our own teeth at the same time our kids were brushing, we found that helped them better understand how to do it. Modeling is so important!
Help them brush.
Toddlers are notorious for having a very short attention span, so it’s expected that they only want to brush for a few seconds and be done with it. So even if brushing has to be quick, you can still guide them on how to brush properly. Let them try on their own (to build a sense of independence) but also help them finish up the job. My dentist strongly recommended getting in there and cleaning when your toddler is done to help prevent cavities — it only takes a few seconds but can keep their teeth healthy as they learn to do it themselves.
We’ve used reward charts for almost everything in our house. Potty-training, behavior issues and meal times. It was a no-brainer to add brushing teeth to the list.
Practice through play.
Just as making it part of your daily routine, practicing how to brush your teeth during play times can make learning to brush teeth so much easier for toddlers. So next time your child is up for pretend play and looking to grab a toy stethoscope, tell them they can also play a superhero dentist fixing dolly’s teeth after those candy worms she ate. Then you’ll see how hard they’ll brush next time it’s their turn.
Choose a special toothbrush.
Choosing a kid-friendly toothbrush is the easiest (and most fun!) way to start building interest in the whole tooth brushing process when you have a 2 or 3 year-old.
The options to find a favorite for your toddler are almost endless,
- You can choose a favorite cartoon or movie character
- You can find a brush that lights up
- You can get an electric toothbrush that helps them get the job done quicker
On goes the list.
We’ve went through our share of toothbrushes as is expected with little kids, but we’ve found that the favorite characters have engaged them the most, and make it a more pleasant experience for kids.
Currently, my boys are into Despicable Me — Dru, the girls, Lucy and minions, they love the whole crew! We’ve watched the movies countless times and the boys are hooked.
So when I surprised them with a minion powered toothbrush they were pumped! It was the perfect way to get them excited about brushing those little pearly whites. After all, they’ve been begging me to take them to the newest flick, Despicable Me 3 (get ticketing info here!).
The toothbrush is awesome! With a push of a button, the voice instructions encourages kids to brush correctly and has great 2 minute timing to help them know when done.
The battery powered portion helps mom stay at ease too — small oscillating head and soft bristles clean teeth and vanquish plague to help set kids in the right direction! You can find the Colgate® Minions™ Talking Battery Powered Toothbrush in stores nationwide.
We also enjoyed this Mineez Despicable Me surprise pack we used to reward our boys for a job well-done. Just have them pop open the toy to reveal one of seventy-five Mineez characters. It’s right up their alley, since they are obsessed with those surprise egg video and toys! (Note: I just remind my boys to keep their mini surprise high on the bathroom shelves and away from the baby.)
Check out the movie trailer below.
The soundtrack features, the grammy award-winning hit “Happy” — a song that inspired a global movement of happiness and self-made videos around the world. It includes over 15 songs your kids will love! (Check out how to win a copy below.)
I’ve partnered up with Universal to bring my readers a special giveaway to encourage healthy brushing. They have generously offered to provide one lucky reader with the following:
- $25 Visa gift card to see Despicable Me 3 in theaters June 30
- Two (2) Colgate® Minions™ Talking Battery Powered Toothbrushes
- Two (2) Mineez Despicable Me Surprise Packs
- Official Motion Picture Soundtrack (featuring the Academy Award®-nominated and Grammy Award-winning global smash hit “Happy”)
Simply use the Rafflecopter below to share why this Despicable Me prize pack would make the perfect brushing compliment. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a prenatal and postpartum educator at MommysBundle.com.