What Kind of an Example Do You Set?
Monkey see, monkey do is a common expression when explaining the sometimes age-inappropriate actions taken by small children. As parents we know little ones are watching our every move. While most of the time we take this to mean they are watching our bad behavior, the truth is they are also watching our mundane, every day behavior.
This realization can be somewhat terrifying.
Imagine having your life filmed and then having the opportunity to watch it back. How many things would you cringe at or wish you could change? While there is no way we can ensure prefect behavior (in us or our kids) it is important to remember that their brains and eyes are always engaged and soaking everything in.
Experts believe that by 15 months, children have both the fine motor skills and mental capacity to imitate many adult behaviors. It is important to use this impressionable age to teach your children life skills, such as good oral health with includes diligent brushing and regular flossing. Promote successful smiles in your house by being the good example. The experts in Dr. Ku’s office have given you a few examples below to get started with!
Brush and floss daily
Let’s start out with an easy one: Let your children watch you brush your teeth every morning and night. Even if it means it elongates the process—and a little extra brushing never hurts – let them be part of the routine. For the younger set let them brush a few of your teeth or turn the water on in the sink. For older kids consider brushing your teeth together. This added accountability will ensure the two minutes twice a day happens no matter what.
Since flossing can still be difficult for many children, let them try to floss their teeth while you do yours. Then help them out to ensure all the space between the teeth is cleaned out. Who knew tooth brushing could be a form of bonding?
Take them with you to the dentist
We understand that no one really looks forward to going to the dentist, but it is important to not let that anxiety rub off on your children. At your next annual appointment bring your children along to show how easy and painless the appointments really are. Just like with adults, the anxiety and fear of the unknown is many times worse than the actual appointment for the child. Here at Dr. Ku’s we can help talk the child through your appointment so they know what will happen when they visit. Who knows, we may inspire a career or two along the way!
Have an open dialogue
Discussing normal bodily changes can be both awkward for the parent and the child so many shy away from the discussion until it is too late. Thankfully, discussing oral health is easier than many topics, so consider it your training ground for the teenage years. Begin at an early age talking about the benefits of good oral health and how to determine when there is a problem. This will lay the foundation for your child to come to you in the future if they sense something in their mouth is off or they are experiencing pain.
Heap on the praise
Don’t forget to praise your child for regular flossing and brushing. From potty training to showering to everything in between, parents are accustomed to praising most things that occur in the bathroom. The establishment of a good oral health routine should be no different. Positive reinforcement can do wonders when creating a good routine.
While dentists are great at providing pointers and tips parents are the at-home example that ensures all the pieces fall into place. This holiday season give the gift of setting a good example of excellent oral health. Committing to a being a good example is also a great New Year’s Resolution. Do you have any unique ways that you incorporate your child into your routine to set the best example? Let us know by leaving us a comment!