So I have a 20 month old daughter. For the longest time brushing her teeth was a breeze-even fun almost. I'd give her a toothbrush with toddler toothpaste and she'd suck it all off (of course) and then I'd go in with my own tooth-pasted toothbrush and actually do some brushing. Lately though, she'll want both toothbrushes to suck on, and clamps down refusing to let me anywhere near her teeth. I know it's really important to brush her teeth, but I can't seem to get her to understand that and let me help. I've tried singing songs and getting her to say 'ahh' but every time the toothbrush comes near her mouth, it shuts. I get so angry that today I actually had to walk away and make my husband do it. Help?!?
Tooth brushing is not my very best area. I am in awe of parents who are faithful and whose children have no cavities. I've tried to follow a good bedtime routine. My very best success came when I hung a little chart in the bathroom with our night time routine on it. The children would move their magnetic little animal up the chart as they accomplished each of their bedtime tasks: get a drink, go to the bathroom, brush teeth, read a story, say prayers, stay in bed. If they did it all for five nights in a row, they would get a prize. Maybe that would work for you. The "brush teeth" part would just be part of the routine.
I was at the home of a large family the other night. The whole family was watching TV and, one by one, the little children would lay down on the floor while their mom brushed their teeth (using children's tooth paste). She just sat down with her legs straddled and they would just lay there in turn while she had a great view of their mouth (dentist style) and brushed. Wow. So great. The kids seemed fine with the whole process--just watching TV!
Usually these little rebellions are short-lived if you gently push through them and avoid power struggles. I try to help my children feel in control of the situation. "You decide how much tooth paste. You tell me when we can start. You put up your finger if it hurts." Maybe it's something real, like a little sore gum or a canker sore.
Hopefully one of these suggestions will help, and I look forward to the other ideas our readers will share.