Wrangling kids into caring about their bodily and oral hygiene can definitely be tricky, especially when you’re busy managing not only a household, but also a career (as most modern mothers do).  It’s not enough that you wash their laundry and clean the bathroom, you also have to keep a weather eye (and nose) on their overall cleanliness to make sure they aren’t neglecting personal hygiene.  But kids that want to avoid bathing and brushing their teeth can often find ways to duck your attentions.  And believe it or not, most kids go through a phase at some point where they really couldn’t care less about health and hygiene.  So you may need to figure out how to get them on board with bathing and brushing their teeth.  Here are just a few ways to get the ball rolling.

You should start by having a conversation with your kids to discuss the issue, especially if there are signs that they are neglecting their hygiene.  For one thing, there may be other problems occurring that you don’t know about that are causing your kids to act out in this way.  Clearly, you’ll need to address any underlying issues first.  But it may simply be that your children don’t understand the necessity for good hygiene or the consequences of failing to properly clean themselves.  Just because you tell them to bathe and brush their teeth doesn’t mean they know why (or that they automatically agree with your judgment on the matter).  So when you tell them that failing to bathe can leave them smelling bad and open them up to infection, and that neglecting their oral health can lead to cavities and fillings, perhaps they’ll be more inclined to attend to their hygiene.

Of course, instilling good habits from an early age is the best way to get your kids on the right track with hygienical practices.  Making them brush their teeth twice a day and bathe several times a week from a young age is imperative to creating good habits.  But you may need to do more.  If your kids complain about the regimen, consider implementing a system of reward and punishment to further solidify the habit.  Create a chart to track their progress and then give them good marks when they brush their teeth or take baths without hassle.  When the chart is full, offer a reward such as an outing to the park.  Alternately, you may have to take something away if they fail to comply.

As a last resort, you can always use the power of peer pressure to get your kids in line.  Very few children are not susceptible to this form of social pressure, so if you tell them that other kids may not want to hang out with them if they smell bad, it could provide just the impetus they need to attend to their hygienical needs.  Eventually, they will likely come to realize the error of their ways on their own, but you may not want to wait that long.  So think about ways that you can connect with your kids and let them know about the importance of bathing and brushing their teeth.  Not only is it good for their health, but you’re the one who will have to foot the bill at the doctor or dentist for their negligence.

Jennifer Kardish writes for Mint Dental Anchorage where you can get the beautiful healthy smile you’ve always dreamed of.

Image source:  crabappledental.blogspot.com

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