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A Tip For Parents: Try a Countdown Brushing Calendar

A Tip For Parents: Try a Countdown Brushing Calendar

Setting up a reward system by using a countdown to brushing calendar is a great way to encourage your kids to stay consistent when it comes to brushing and flossing their teeth!

Children don’t always enjoy the brushing and flossing their teeth. Some kids don’t like the taste of tooth paste, some just don't want to stop what they’re doing to go brush, and others just plain forget about it altogether.

But remember, establishing a regular brushing and flossing routine is really important when it comes to ensuring your child’s life-long oral health. The earlier children establish good oral health routines, the more likely they are to stick with them, and value them long term.

To get your kids to take a more active interest in establishing and maintaining a brushing and flossing routine, adopting a rewards and goals system can make all the difference.  A countdown brushing calendar is an easy way to motivate your child to stay on track.

How It Works

This countdown brushing calendar technique involves providing a reward after a designated period of regular brushing and flossing.

Start by selecting a calendar to use.

To begin you will need to choose a calendar. You can purchase a traditional calendar, print out a template, or use a digital calendar, like Google Calendar. The type you choose will depend largely on your child’s age. A 10-year-old might prefer a digital calendar, while a smaller child might enjoy being able to colour in the days on a print out.

Next, settle on a period of time that makes sense for you and your child.

Now you need to decide on a timeframe that makes sense for your child. It can be a week, two weeks, a month, depending on the age of your child, and the reward you choose.

For example, younger children may do better with shorter periods of time like a week. A month is likely too long for small children, and they could lose momentum and motivation before month is up.

Older children are likely to be more motivated by “valuable” rewards (in terms of time commitment or expense), so a longer time frame makes more sense.

Regardless of the time period you choose, your child must brush and floss twice a day every day, to achieve the goal and earn their reward. Have your child mark off the calendar after each day successfully completed.

Choose a Reward

Finally, choose a reward that you child will get for successfully brushing and flossing twice daily for the designated period of time.

The reward can be anything at all that your child would like, and it doesn’t have to be a physical item. It could be an extra half hour of TV time before bed, a slumber party with friends, or a trip to the park.

You can let your child choose a small toy, add an extra few dollars to their allowance, or even donate a certain amount to a charity of your child’s choosing (you could choose a different one each time).

It's important to be sure to select a reward that makes sense based on the time frame you’ve set up. For instance, a slumber party may not be a great choice for a weekly reward (unless you have a lot of energy!), but it might make more sense for a monthly one.

A countdown brushing calendar is a helpful way to lock down your child’s brushing and flossing routine. You won't have to continue it forever, but I could help you to get your child to a point where brushing and flossing are just a non-negotiable part of their daily routine.

For more advice on brushing and flossing routines for children, contact our Delta children’s dentists for a consultation.

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