Convincing your child to commit to any task that doesn’t include an immediate reward is undoubtedly a task in itself! Flossing is a habit that you and your child should begin as soon as his or her teeth begin to erupt.
As a parent, it’s your responsibility to teach your child how to floss properly, and it’s up to you to create your child’s motivation to floss.
So how can you get creative in motivating your child? Here are 5 ways to get your kids to floss!
1. Create non-monetary, non-sugary incentives to floss
Perhaps one of the most effective methods for persuading a child: incentive! Reward! In this case, we want to steer clear of money and candy as rewards for flossing. Cash and sugar rewards will create the expectation for more cash and sugar rewards, and these two forms of reward are not something you want your child creating an unhealthy relationship with. (Besides, you can’t reward flossing with the very sugars that create the need to floss!)
Try a reward system by creating a fun, interactive flossing calendar. At the end of every week, if your child flossed each day, maybe they can stay up an hour later on a Friday night! Maybe you’ll let your child choose what’s for dinner or breakfast every once in a while as a reward. Get creative with your rewards program! Creating an interactive floss calendar and allowing your child to mark each day he or she flosses could create enough motivation on its own!
2. Create fun backstories
As a skillful parent, you’ve probably already used this method to create motivation for your child in other ways! Let your imagination run wild! An exciting backstory can turn any task into an engaging quest or mission. Maybe the bacteria your child is flossing away has a secret mission to defeat the teeth, and each night your child must win the battle against bacteria. (This tale isn’t too far from the truth behind bacteria either!)
3. Choose colorful, kid-friendly floss and dental tools
There’s no doubt that colorful, kid-friendly designs will grab your child’s interest! Floss brands with colorful, graphic designs make flossing less of a task and more of an exciting event. Some kid-friendly flosses may feature your child’s favorite TV character, princess or superhero. Many flosses are flavored with bubble gum, grape and similar flavors your child loves, while others are shaped as your child’s favorite animal! Allow your child to choose their favorite floss, and they’ll opt to floss more often.
4. Set an example; floss with them!
An even greater method than a reward system, a fun backstory or a colorful floss brand would be you leading by example. If your child doesn’t see you flossing, they may feel confused about the true importance of flossing daily. They may question why they have to floss when you don’t have to floss. Show your child your own teeth and point out how white and pearly they are. Explain to your child that flossing is the reason your teeth are as straight and healthy as they are! (If you need adult orthodontics before using your teeth as an example, let’s get started today!) Commit to a regular flossing routine for you and your child to practice each day, and you can bond during a healthy activity.
5. And of course–praise their efforts!
This doesn’t necessarily mean a tangible or edible reward! As you know, verbal praise goes a long way with children. Be sure to praise your child each day after he or she flosses. Cheer them on, give them a dramatic high-five or a hug each time they complete their nightly flossing. Show your child how fabulous their teeth look by pointing them out, and help your child understand that flossing is playing a major role in his or her dental health.
At the end of the day, you know your child best! You know what drives their motivation, and there’s no doubt that you’ve found successful methods for creating motivation by now. Add a little creativity to your nightly dental care, and continue reminding your child how important it is to floss.
Are you searching for a family orthodontist nearby? If you or your child is ready for your free orthodontic exam, request one today! Spillers Orthodontics is the top Invisalign orthodontist in Macon and Warner Robins, Georgia. We also provide braces for kids, orthodontics for children, braces for teens, braces for adults and more at our two locations. We offer affordable Invisalign costs, and we would love to meet you!