Most parents and babysitters do a good job when it comes to getting their children to brush their teeth, but sometimes flossing gets forgotten. Flossing your teeth is just as important to brushing. Listed below are ten ways to get kids to floss.
- Proper Equipment. Make sure you have floss in the house for them to use and that it is appropriate for their age. If they don’t have it, they can’t use it. Younger children should be using a floss pick, as they do not have the dexterity in their hands to manipulate the string yet.
- Proper Technique. Make sure they know how to floss first. By educating them on how to do it, they will be more likely to get it right.
- Make It Routine. Make flossing a part of their normal routine. If they get used to doing it regularly, they will be less likely to forget. You may have to be present for a while to make sure it gets done.
- Set An Example. One way to make sure kids are flossing is to lead by example. If you floss on a regular basis in front of the children, then they will be more likely to do it themselves.
- Show Them Evidence. Kids respond very well to visual stimuli, so if you want them to floss, show them why. There are plenty of examples on the internet of tooth decay, or you could have your dentist show them photos they have.
- Set Goals. Set a goal with a positive reward after the goal has been met. It can be something very simple, such as getting to pick what’s for dinner, if they remember to floss for one week without being told to.
- Start Early. The younger the child is when they learn good oral hygiene, the more likely they will be to take good care of their teeth as they get older. Starting early helps them to start a routine and stick with it.
- Be Positive. Try not to nag your child to floss. This is a discouragement, and they will resent the routine. Be positive and encouraging, when working on flossing, so they will see this as a good thing.
- Let Them Choose. Purchase a variety of flosses and flavors of floss, and let the child decide which one they like best. Getting them involved in the decision making will make them feel like an important part of the process.
- Be Prepared. If you are going on vacation or if your child is going on a sleepover, make sure you pack floss along with their toothbrush to use while away from home. It is really easy to get out of a good habit, when not prepared.
Getting kids to floss is not hard, but keeping up the routine can be. So stick with it, and don’t be discouraged if it takes longer than you thought to start the habit. They may need to be reminded more often, but eventually it will sink in.
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Story by Paul Taylor