Positive reinforcement leads to a lifetime of great habits.
Starting as early as the first tooth that pops its little way through is very important!
Here are some things to do along with the book Brush Barry Brush to educate your children on brushing.
THINGS TO DO:
1. Positive reinforcement. This is achieved through positive feedback by rewarding desirable behavior (brushing).
For ex. utilizing the brushing chart and stickers in the book.
2. You can talk about colors and your child can pick out which character they like the best.
For ex. Barry and the blueberries.
3. Make up a fun toothbrushing song. Positive reinforcement is as simple as singing together. It works wonders
It is fun to for you to sing to them and have them happily brushing. Eventually they learn the words and sing it too. You can make up your own using the child’s name, with rhyming words. The idea is to make it fun! For example , one that I used , was to the tune of “Row,Row Row Your Boat”:
Brush , brush , brush your teeth,
After eating meals each day,
Cleaning ,cleaning, cleaning, cleaning
Fighting tooth decay.
Another verse could include
Brush brush brush your teeth,
after eating meals each day,
Front , back, take off the plaque,
Now we smile all day!
4. As children get older you can have them look in the mirror and count their teeth. Talk about the fact that there are 20 in all- 10 on top and 10 on the bottom.
5. Discuss healthy food choices.
Look in the book and talk about what the kids are eating. For example Doreen eats dark chocolate. Then she brushes her teeth. Although it would be best to eat something like that for dessert at a meal, in real life it does not always happen like that! So if you do eat a snack just brush after. If you are away,you can swish some water and swallow and then brush when you get home. The idea is to form the habit cleaning your teeth by swishing water or actually brushing after eating, whenever possible.
6. You and your child clap for each syllable and say:
Eat, then brush,eat,brush,eat brush
Clean each tooth. Don’t be in a rush
O-pen wide, look in-side, smile and say
Health -y teeth, hoo-ray, hoo-ray!
7. Show and tell. Role models are important! Parents should be a model for good home care habits and start an educational and motivational program early while the kids are young and eager to imitate. If you want your children to have smiles that will last a lifetime, get them into the habit of cleaning teeth after eating whenever possible. Offering positive reinforcement will encourage them even more.
8. Have your child think of vegetables that begin with the same letter or sound as their name. Then have them draw a picture of themselves eating it and then brushing their teeth.