As a parent, it’s only natural to want to do everything for your kids, including brushing their teeth. While this is necessary during the early years, at some point, they have to learn how to do it all on their own. Don’t worry, it’s a lot easier than it sounds.

If your kids are like most, they probably don’t enjoy brushing their teeth too much or try to rush through it so they can get back to having fun. To help out, in this article, we’ve outlined a few simple tips for teaching your kids how to brush their teeth the right way.

1. Lead By Example
It’s no secret that kids love to mimic their parents, so this tip is going to be taking advantage of that. One of the best ways to begin teaching your kids how to brush their teeth is by letting them watch as you demonstrate with good technique.

Once you’ve finished brushing your teeth, apply a small amount of toothpaste to their brush and guide them through the motions and different areas of the mouth. After a few lessons, they should begin picking it up on their own, allowing you to take a more passive role while inspecting their technique and making sure they brush all of their teeth.

You can continue this tip until your child is able to brush their teeth all by themselves, though we still recommend you check occasionally to make sure they didn’t miss anything.

2. Make Brushing More Fun
Most kids don’t enjoy brushing their teeth, which can lead to a rushed routine and poor dental health. Since they’re almost never thinking about the two full minutes they should be brushing for, this tip is all about making things more fun while ensuring your kids give their teeth the attention they need.

Rather than just setting a timer, try implementing something fun so that your kids actually look forward to brushing their teeth. Consider playing music for two minutes or even using one of the many brushing apps for smartphones and tablets to really help the time fly by.

3. Get Them on a Routine
There will eventually come the day when you’re not home to make sure your kids are brushing their teeth. Rather than having to worry, if you get them onto a good dental routine at an early age, brushing becomes something they do whether you’re around or not.

The easiest way to get your kids onto a brushing routine is by simply having them brush as soon as they wake up, and again right before bed. As the parent, it’s important to play the role of enforcer, making sure your kids stick to their routine no matter how badly they want to skip.

4. Take Them Shopping
Instead of choosing a brush and toothpaste for your kids, let them pick their own so they have a sense of ownership and get excited about brushing their teeth. At most stores, you can find a wide range of fun and exciting toothbrushes that are modeled after popular kids TV show characters, superheroes, and plenty more.

In addition to a cool toothbrush, there are dozens of ADA (American Dental Association) approved toothpastes that come in a variety of flavors and colors. Whenever your kids start getting bored of the same brush or flavored toothpaste, simply take them for another trip to the store to rekindle the excitement.

5. Use Soft Circular Motions
While your gums and teeth are prone to the damaging effects of overbrushing at any age, they’re especially sensitive as a kid. Brushing too hard can cause a number of problems such as receding gums and enamel erosion, both of which may lead to more serious health issues that require a visit to the dentist.

To make sure your kids don’t experience dental problems, teach them to brush in slow, circular motions with light pressure. This will ensure they’re reaching all the different areas of the mouth while scrubbing away plaque and bacteria. Consider getting a toothbrush with built-in pressure sensors that notify the user when they’re brushing too hard.

6. Create a Rewards System
If you’ve tried everything you can think of and your kids still don’t want to brush their teeth, creating a rewards system can work wonders. To start, think about what motivates your kids and come up with a creative way to implement it into their brushing routine.

Whether it be points that can be traded in for different prizes, or even something as simple as letting them watch an episode of their favorite TV show, it’s important to make brushing a positive experience. Once they’ve adopted a healthy dental routine, you can slowly begin to wean them off of the rewards system as they get older.