One of the many joys of parenting a toddler is never knowing what they’ll do next!   Parents often ask us questions about brushing for them when they’re not being cooperative.

Here are a few tips…

  • Have your child face in the same direction as you. This will feel more natural to you when you brush as this is the way you brush your own teeth.
  • Let your child lean up against your body, this will help stabilize them and they will feel comfortable in your arms
  • Establish a routine. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests- “Brush, Book, Bed”- as a helpful bedtime routine.
  • Try to make it fun- sing a song, look for “butterflies” (or whatever they like at the moment) in their mouth
  • Give them control when you can…. let them choose to have a turn “first” or “second” when you brush. This gives them a sense of control and helps them gain independence.
  • Choose your timing…. if they are in the middle of a “melt down” don’t choose that moment to brush. It’s like Mark Twain once said about the weather… “If you don’t like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes”
  • If they give you a hard time some days, rest assured this is developmentally appropriate behavior as they learn to make their opinions known.