Q Every time we go to brush my daughter’’s teeth (she’s just over two), she kicks up such a fuss. We’ve tried different brushes and toothpastes, but nothing seems to work. I know we’ve got to clean her teeth, but she makes it really difficult. Any tips? A Lois Haultain, parenting
expert says: It’s important you relax and breathe deeply before you say it’s time for tooth-brushing. If your face, voice and body language display tension she will pick up on that and become fearful herself.
I suggest you make it clear it has to happen and empathise: ‘I know you don’t like having your teeth brushed. Everybody has to have their teeth brushed, including you, even though you feel sad about that’.
Offer an incentive, such as: ‘When your teeth are brushed you can have a piggyback ride to the bedroom’, or ‘Let’s get your teeth brushed now so we have time for two stories tonight’.
Try to offer a choice between brushes, toothpastes or sitting on your lap or a chair.
Try using a timer or buzzer for distraction, and soothe her and offer praise for doing well. Persevere and finish up with a big hug.