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As soon as your baby has a tooth, it’s important to start brushing teeth to provide the foundation for a healthy mouth. It is also recommended to keep helping your child brush their teeth until they are around 7 years old.
It’s easier said than done. Toddlers and preschoolers can blankly refuse to brush their teeth. They might not like that you do it for them and quite frankly, I understand them. Would you want someone else to brush your teeth?
Montessori encourages parents to support their child’s independence and to give them freedom within limits. So with that in mind, let’s see how we can encourage children’s dental hygiene.
As you will have to complete the job, allowing your child to brush your teeth and then you brush them is often helping to feel in control.
Use a sand timer to make sure your child brushes their teeth for at least 2 minutes.
If all fails, I will say go ahead and let them use an app! It might seem the opposite of Montessori but hear me out, dental hygiene is primordial and tooth decay can happen! I speak from experience with my son. Limit the app for the duration of the tooth brushing. They probably will not want to use the app when they are 5 years old and older so it’s not going to last. Here are some recommendations.
It can also help your child to learn about teeth and to role-play “dentist”. In the Montessori classroom, those activities would be part of “care of self – practical life area”.
I like the idea to have a denture model on which your child can practice tooth brushing.
ou could also use 3-parts cards to teach the parts of the teeth. Here is a free set.
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Does your child struggle with tooth brushing?
Do you have any other tips to share? Let me know in the comments!
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Carine Robin has a Master’s Degree in Psychology, specialising in child psychology. She worked for various social services in her home country of Belgium, before moving to Ireland in 2006. It was there that she started working in a nursery and discovered Montessori education. After having her first child, her passion for the philosophy grew and she qualified as a Montessori teacher and managed a preschool. Carine has been running a Montessori based parents and toddler group and coaching families for 9 years. She now also runs an online group for over 14000 parents, sharing her knowledge and passion with people from around the world. In 2018, Carine realised families needed more support and launched her popular online parenting courses and monthly subscription boxes, full of personally designed Montessori materials.
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