Lesson #4: Brush Twice a Day, for 2 Minutes
Have you tried getting a preschooler to brush teeth for 2 whole minutes? If your child attends day care, it’s possible the day care providers brush the child’s teeth once a day- and you are fortunate. We did not have that with our child’s day care. It was hard at the end of the day-to get them to brush teeth or sit with us brushing because children are tired and I was too, but toothbrushing must still go on.
There are options to help children (and adults) to brush long enough:
--electric toothbrushes with audible timers
--old fashioned sand timers, egg timers
--2 minute toothbrushing video apps. If you don’t mind the privacy issues, or your child’s having a screen in the bathroom at bedtime;or if you don’t mind downloading and monitoring the app to make sure it’s beneficial.
Brush Teeth for Two Minutes
We tried all of these. None of them worked. We didn’t like the sound of the electric toothbrush plus our kids are visual and it wasn’t visual. Replacing electric toothbrush heads every 6 months was pricey. What about toothbrush timer apps? We didn’t want to give our kids a computer in the bathroom. Nor did we want to use the screen as an aid to help our kids’ to focus since it’s often more of a distraction. The old fashioned sand timer was a little too slow to keep the kids focused plus it tipped off the sink. We wanted our kids to foster their independence, do their tasks, without relying on a screen.
Necessity is the mother of invention. So my husband and I went to make something, inthe basement, that worked. We designed the Two Minute Turtle Timer, a 2-minute timer that kids own, hold, press the button, get wet, follow, learn to pace themselves and ultimately, enjoy. Kids love to follow the light-up flippers, each flipper blinks for 30 seconds, faster than the one before it until the Victory Lap signalling that it’s time to brush the tongue. And no kid wants to quit a race before a turtle...! They know the fable, the Tortoise and the Hare.
As of this writing, our children are 14 and 17 years old and have not had a cavity since using the Two Minute Turtle Timer. They brush with it every morning and night and pack it on overnights. The Two Minute Turtle Timer is made in Boston and available on Etsy. I hope you can get more peace each day by ensuring your kids take initiative and brush the full 2 minutes without any more reminders!