I am unashamedly one of those moms who firmly believes in creating routine and structure for my son Milo. And I am not talking about becoming a militant mom. Not at all. It is less about sticking to the schedule step by step, hour on hour, rather more about creating a sense of familiarity and consistency for our little ones, more especially when it comes to bedtime.
If you do not already believe in a bedtime routine, trust me it will help you gain back your sanity. Just like most parents my husband and I struggled initially when it came to brushing teeth at bedtime. Milo sprouted his first tooth probably round about 10 months and I jumped at the opportunity to start him on brushing. How I wish I had known about Grin Natural back then. Lesson number one; the choice of toothpaste does matter! With Milo the first toothpaste we ever tried was way too strong for him even though it said ‘for babies’ and organic, and then any subsequent toothpaste became a nightmare to introduce. It is all about the toothpaste people! Fast forward to Grin Natural and boy do we have a winner. Whether it is the strawberry or orange flavour it is never a struggle. The hard part is choosing which one to use on the night.
So, let us jump into bedtime routines and some tips which I have found works for our family and hopefully will prove useful for yours as well.
Create a flexible schedule. Flexible does not mean something will not be done, rather more that it can be switched around. That way you will not stress yourself out if something is not exactly to a particular time. Trust that it will get done but maybe not in that specific order. Is it really that bad if they eat in their PJ’s or eat before they bath or brush their teeth before they put on their PJ’s? Not, right?
Kids want to feel involved and be part of the process, so try outlining a schedule with them. We asked Milo what he would want to do at night. Then we wrote down what we felt was necessary and then talked through which activities were necessary and which were more for daytime. It made him feel so included. Talking through what will happen each night prepared him mentally for things and made him feel more comfortable.
Introduce complimentary activities and keep it simple. For instance, we chose brushing and flossing. Immediately after Milo brushes, he reaches for his floss. In his mind these go together. Also, he has come to understand that once he flosses it is probably closer to bedtime and a book, so he’s less likely to ask for a late-night snack which then defeats the purpose of flossing. I would advise against introducing too many activities at night. It is exhausting for all.
Create a sense of independence and play. We let Milo put on his own toothpaste. Yes, he messed a bit at first, or squeezed too much out, but that was okay. When our kids do something for them-selves they feel a sense of accomplishment.
Make it fun and introduce a bed-time song or video. I speak about toothbrushing songs in one of my earlier blogs titled 5 Toothbrushing songs to make brushing fun for your child and you! A song can make all the difference especially when they see their favourite character doing it and it will also help your little start getting into the routine of brushing for at least 2 minutes as opposed to rushing the activity.
Lead by example. It helps to participate in the activity with your child at least in the beginning. If they see that mom and dad are using the same toothpaste brand as them and doing the same routine at night, they buy into the plan quicker. Plus, a family that brushes together has no cavities together 😊
Introduce a rewards and recognition system. Praise goes a long way. If ever in doubt 1-2-3 Grin! Kids Oral Care Set is amazing. It has a starter brush, floss, and stickers. Thereafter you can even start creating your own reward system as they get older.
Have downtime. After it is all said and done, have at least one activity your child knows will close off their evening. For us that is generally reading a book. Grin Kids Brushing Pop Book is a favourite in our home. It even has a built-in floss so your child can experiment on the character itself. But it also becomes a great teaching and reinforcement moment as well.
Bedtime routines do not need to be tiresome or time-consuming. For me I have chosen to also let go a bit and enjoy the valuable time we have with Milo. Occasionally one or two activities fall off the routine and that is okay, but if using a great oral care range such as Grin, eating healthy meals, limiting sweets or chocolates and explaining to your child the importance of looking after their teeth, it all works out well in the end.
About the Author
This blog was written by Grin’s passionate brand advocate and career mom Jess Mason. Jess is hugely interested in health, fitness, and living an organic and preservative free lifestyle. She loves sharing stories of her family and her son Milo. She can be found on her Instagram page @jessmason911 where she posts updates on her family life, Grin experiences, travels and settling into New Zealand as her new home. We are super excited that Jess will be also sharing her own mom experiences, learnings, and knowledge with our Grin community. It’s going to be fun!