Most kids don’t like having their teeth brushed. Not my 8 and 4-year old granddaughters! They love it. When I brush their teeth, I play a game with them called Name That Toonth!
Our tooth-brushing ritual began when my older granddaughter got her first teeth. My daughter diligently brushed the tiny little stubs with an electric toothbrush, while my granddaughter actually lay still. But as she got older, she didn’t want to lie still and wiggled away.
To entertain her and keep her from moving, I sang songs to her. As she got older, I hummed her favorite songs while I brushed her teeth to see if she could guess the titles. As soon as she recognized the title, she’d sing the next line. Then I’d hum another tune.
The game was so much fun for both of us, now I play it with my 4-year old granddaughter, too. I’ll sing the first note of “Old McDonald Had a Farm” and she’ll gurgle “E-I-E-I-O” spilling out a mouth full of toothpaste suds.
“Yes, that’s right,” I say and hum the next song.
Whenever I visit, the girls ask me to brush their teeth so we can play Name That Toonth. My humming repertoire includes more than 50 tunes they can name—many on the first note. I’m always adding new songs to expand their repertoire—oldies, Americana, silly songs, Broadway tunes, peace songs, whatever pops into my head.
As a parent and now a grandparent, I’ve learned that when you incorporate a fun ritual into a daily hygiene routine, you positively reinforce the habit and it’s easier to get it done.
My two granddaughters both have beautiful, healthy teeth because they take such good care of them. Both girls love to sing and when they do, you can see those beautiful smiles.