It’s not likely that a child is going to absolutely adore the practice of flossing their teeth. But we do know that flossing is an essential practice for quality oral hygiene, and the sooner you start teaching your child to floss, the better it will be for their oral health.
If you’re having trouble motivating your child to floss, try the following ideas to get them more excited about this important habit.
1. Floss to a song that your child likes.
Make flossing fun at home by involving music. Choose a song that your child likes, and make sure that it has a steady beat. Try to floss to the beat along with your child, and finish flossing before the song ends!
2. Start a flossing calendar.
Children love to look back over something that they’ve accomplished, and adults aren’t much different! Center for Dental Sleep Medicine said, “By creating a calendar that is especially for flossing, your child will be able to see their progress.”
Allow your child to choose a calendar, and put it up in your bathroom on the appropriate month. When your child flosses on the first day, allow them to use a big marker to draw an X through the day on the calendar. Likewise, you can let them draw a happy face or put a sticker on that day. If you prefer, you can be the one who marks the calendar much like a teacher would in praise of their student.
Kids will love the challenge of getting as many days in a row as possible, and they will love looking back on their progress.
3. Reward your child for flossing regularly.
As you mark your calendar, you may further motivate your child to floss everyday by promising them a larger reward if they completely fill a week or a month. This might be something bigger like a trip to the zoo or even something small like a stuffed animal or their favorite meal for dinner.
4. Buy fun floss.
Did you know that there is actually special floss for kids? Many stores carry special floss that has fun designs on the case. Your child’s favorite cartoon character may be the sponsor for a type of floss, and this will make the whole experience much more enjoyable for your child.
Similarly, you might even let your child pick out a special color of floss. There are also unique flavors to choose from.
5. Take your child to the dentist, and ask the oral hygienist or dentist to explain the importance of flossing.
Sometimes, hearing something from someone other than a parent can be a motivating factor for kids. This isn’t something that we love as parents, but if it helps them stay safer and healthier, then it’s worth it!
If you’re worried that your child isn’t catching on to the practice of flossing daily, try talking to your dentist or oral hygienist. They may be able to help you explain the benefits of flossing to your child. Moreover, a great dentist will have props or even educational videos to show as well. Finally, your child will be able to hear from their dentist that if they don’t floss, cavities may appear, and cavities are painful and not fun! This gives an reality check ultimatum to kids, and it may be a great motivating factor!
6. Make sure that you’re practicing what you preach.
A parent who doesn’t floss but tells their child to develop the habit is definitely not practicing what they’re preaching. It’s important to set a good example for your child by showing them that you floss too!
You also might consider making flossing a group activity for the whole family. This is a good idea to start with at least. Instead of telling your child to go in the bathroom and floss, floss with them yourself, or you might even get your other children and your partner to floss with them as well.
Naturally, flossing isn’t the most exciting activity for anyone, but once again, it is essential for having a healthy mouth and gums and avoiding tooth decay and cavities. If your child is deeply resisting this practice, the tips above will surely help to motivate them.