Titanic toddler toothbrush battles
Bedtimes can be the best or the worst experience for parents. Personally, I find the whole process of reading a story, tucking Jack in and perhaps humming a nursery rhyme quite relaxing. Not really a stress at all.
What I’ve struggled with recently though, is brushing teeth. I suppose this goes as much for mornings as evenings, but in the evenings I tend to notice more because I’m not in such a rush myself.
I think the main issue at the moment is our attempts to show Jack how to brush his teeth himself. This is something he’s been doing on and off for the past year – a process that pretty much always ends up with mum or dad finishing up for him.
Now that he’s reached an “age of reason”, of sorts, it seems like the opportune time to really explain how it’s all done – and more importantly, how to do it properly and thoroughly.
With Jack, the problem is not one of technique. He can certainly clean a tooth or portion of teeth as well as any adult when he puts his mind to it. The main issue, I believe, is one of concentration.
Usually, he’ll start off full of enthusiasm, peering intently at himself in the “Jack” mirror we’ve stuck above the sink at his height.
Problem is, he’ll then notice a reflection, or even something on his own face, which will distract him. Literally, it can take less than three “strokes” of his brush and he’s forgotten what he’s supposed to be doing.
This means my back will be turned for less than 30 seconds, and in that time Jack has managed to drop his brush and start squeezing handsoap out onto his knee. Fascinating for toddlers as hand soap is, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s not what you want smeared all over the bed sheets.
My approach to tackling distraction has been to get him thinking about his mouth in portions. Problem with that is he forgets what portions he’s brushed, which means he always misses out those furthest from his brushing hand (back teeth, right-hand side) and probably overbrushes the front (bottoms and top).
Does anyone have any tips about what to do? It’s quite possible I could be doing this too early in his development, but I suspect its more likely that I just haven’t found the right incentive for him to do it from start to finish yet…