As a parent, life can get very busy. There’s so much to do and remember for work, for your kids, for you, personally, that things can sometimes get forgotten. Your kids’ dental habits shouldn’t be one of them. However, we understand it can be tough to manage it all, so we’ve put together a list of kids dental hygiene essentials every busy parent should have.
1. Give Your Kids a Tooth-Brushing Calendar. For busy parents, one tool that might help is a daily tooth-brushing calendar to make sure your kids are brushing their teeth twice a day and using floss at least once a day (You’ll find a free tooth-brushing calendar at the end of this post). Your kids could check off or place a sticker on each calendar day and time they’ve successfully brushed and flossed their teeth. Create a rewards system as an extra motivator. If they keep to their daily brushing schedule for a week or a month, then they could get a fun reward, like a trip to the movies or getting a DVD or toy they’ve been wanting. The reward can be whatever you think is best for your household, but it might give them some extra incentive to do well that week or month when it comes to brushing and flossing their teeth.
If your child is too young to brush his teeth on his own, recruit an older sibling to help. If he has no older siblings, schedule times that you and your spouse (or other family member) can take turns helping your child brush his teeth.
2. Keep their dental appointments a priority. Make sure your kids are seeing a dentist every six months. Schedule their dental appointments ahead of time. If you can’t find a time to take them, ask a friend or family member if they can help.
3. Compile a travel kit for your car that includes:
- Healthy Snacks like granola bars
Whether you’re taking a vacation, a weekend trip or just running a few errands, being prepared when traveling can help safeguard your kids’ dental habits. Leave this travel kit in your car or grab it on your way out. If your kids forget their toothbrush and toothpaste on a trip, they’ll have backups; if they need to floss after eating a hearty meal, they won’t have to do without; and if they get hungry or thirsty, you won’t have to resort to junk food because you’ll have healthy snacks available (This can be a money-saver, too!).
4. Stock your house with extra:
- Healthy Snacks
Having extra toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss stored in the bathroom is a good idea, especially if you’re really busy. It can be hard to make runs to the store for just a couple of items if you’ve already got a lot going on. You could even store some of these extras in the kitchen so your kids will remember to brush their teeth after eating.
Additionally, encourage your kids to use straws when they drink sugary beverages. Although these drinks should be limited for the betterment of your kids’ teeth and health, if they do drink some, using a straw can help keep the sugar from coating their teeth.
5. Educate your kids and sitters about the importance of dental hygiene. The more your kids know to do, the less you’ll have to do in this area. Educate your kids about proper dental hygiene habits so they’ll know when and why they need to brush and floss their teeth, what they should be eating and drinking and how to take care of their dental health overall. You can do this by giving them great dental books to read and referencing some of their favorite movies that mention dental care.
If you have sitters for your kids, stress the importance of your kids’ dental habits to them, too. They can make sure your kids are taking care of their teeth while you’re out.
Your kids’ dental hygiene habits are important and it’s good to be developing them now. We hope these essential dental hygiene tips and this Free Tooth-Brushing Calendar can help you, even with your busy schedule. Here’s an example of what the tooth-brushing calendar might look like filled in:
For more information about caring for your kids’ teeth, see our Mom’s Guide to Caring for Little Teeth.
How has your busy schedule made it hard for you to focus on your kids’ dental hygiene habits? Which one of these tips was helpful to you?