Why can't I?
If you are struggling with your child to brush their teeth for 2 minutes and twice a day, you already know all the techniques they are using. It's as if they all have read the same manual! You start nicely, you ask them to open their mouth, they cooperate for about 6 to 10 seconds and that's it.
There are many reasons why it's hard to get these 2 minutes that we are talking about. For us it seems nothing. What is 2 minutes? Let's look at it from their point of view.
I would name a few reasons - not all of them suits every child, but one reason is enough to make the chore impossible to accomplish. See if you find your child as described below:
Your child is at the "Terrible Twos" (even if he/she is already 3 years old…).
A big NO is the main issue at this stage as you already know. They feel the need to control situations; they have a strong desire for independence. Standing in front of you letting you control the situation is against their nature at this point. They need to stop it!
- The "Me Alone" child. They need to feel that they know how to do things as grown-ups do, so there is no option to stand there doing nothing. It’s like they feel useless and very small for these 2 minutes every morning and evening, doing nothing but staring at you while their mouth is wide open. They need to stop it!
- Like the big brother or sister. Yes, they check everything their big brothers and sisters do. Thus, if they don’t brush their teeth at all, they'll do the same. If they brush teeth by themselves: they want too.
- Your child was a Fussy baby. Was she? Was he? Some causes of fussiness in babies include diaper rash, thrush, food sensitivities and many more. Brushing teeth is a very intrusive activity, and it is possible that it causes these children discomfort and they express it now by not allowing you to brush their teeth.
- A child with sensory issues. Is your child oversensitive to sights, sounds, textures, flavors or smells? If so, it's a very strong reason not to allow you to do it. Extra care is needed to brush their teeth. You will find another blog entry discussing this issue.
- A stubborn child. They are challenging children - if you have one, you know it. When you force kids into something, they tend to rebel and do everything they should not.
- The Hyperactive child. You recognize these children easily since they never stop. They are moving all the time, They are jumping, running, even watching TV they need - really need - to move. Asking them to stand for 2 minutes is like asking you to stop breathing. You really need a strategy to make brushing teeth to this child a reality.
Have you found your child to be at least in one of these descriptions? If so, you now understand what motivates your kid's attitude and why it has been so hard until now. Is not you to blame. Is not their fault also.
And the good news? Yes, there is good news: I am happy to tell you that "Tooth Time is Party Time!" will be a great help for you both.