Happy Dental Health Week!
Mums, dads, carers and teachers – you are in for a treat! I have come up with simple and specific features to look for when deciding whether a toothbrushing video will be right for your kiddies. I have organised this information into age groups:
- Age 3
- Age 4
- Age 5
- Ages 6-7
I have also provided an example for each age group. Now, when using this knowledge, understand this is a general guide only. Every child is different! I have given recommendations in line with the Pre-operational Period (Stage 2) of Piaget’s Four Stages of Intellectual Development.
Why are toothbrushing videos great for kids?
At Riverstone Family Dental we offer a range of Children’s Treatment. We believe that promoting positive behaviour in the setting of a dental clinic starts early on in life. We feel it is important that we do this as young as possible to ensure kids do not develop a negative association with going to the dentist. If they have an accident and chip a tooth or develop a toothache, we need children to be compliant when having dental treatment done rather than fearing the dentist. This could be the difference between a quick fix in the chair or requiring a hospital admission for dental work under general anaesthesia. Moreover, what I am finding is that a negative dental experience early on in life can have an extremely strong effect on dental health in adulthood. One of the tools you can arm yourself with is a toothbrushing video. This is a great way to engage kids and get them motivated to brush their teeth. Getting your children to brush their teeth can be draining, time-consuming and unpleasant at times. You can simplify this by utilising the aid of a toothbrushing video…and there are plenty out there!
This age group is characterised by active imaginations. So what we need to do is excite them. They will do well with stories and are very close with their parents at this age. They shy away from strangers so it is best if parents stay with them when in new situations and environments. Mums and dads if you have kids at this age, I recommend you watch toothbrushing videos with them. It is important that 3yo’s never feel rushed or bored and are shown a great deal of enthusiasm. Toothbrushing Video #1 | Tooth Brushing Song by Blippi Fun, bright and engaging – making this video great for the kiddies. Blippi is a great character for 3yo’s. This toothbrushing video is longer than two minutes – which is great – so you can take your time to get started with your little one.
Verbal directions are great for this age group. Using words such as ‘around‘, ‘behind‘, ‘in front of‘ can really assist you in teaching 4yo’s how to brush. They love exaggeration!! So get them watching something bright and enlarged. They also enjoy talking… so after watching the video, make sure you have a great conversation where you ask them what they learnt and get them to re-tell what happened in the video. 4yo’s also love hearing and repeating ‘please‘ and ‘thankyou‘ so try to use these often when discussing the video and use sentences like: “thankyou for brushing your teeth so well!” and “please sit still and watch this video“. Toothbrushing Video #2 | This Is The Way We Brush Our Teeth At this age, we need a nice and catchy nursery rhyme to remember. Repetition and familiarity is key and will help form a good habit of toothbrushing. At 3yo we have sparked enthusiasm, now at 4yo let’s start a habit. This video uses a catchy nursery rhyme which repeats itself and enables you to reinforce the message of toothbrushing. It is timed at two minutes which is how long we need to brush for and the graphics are also quite repetitive. This is a video kids will remember and parents will get stuck in their heads (sorry!).
Anxiety and fear in kids is fueled by lack of control and not knowing what is happening. In order to ensure cooperation during dental treatment, children must feel like they are in control. Empowering kids to hold something, to do something or to choose between two options allows them to feel like they are involved in their dental procedures. Notice I am using verbs, doing words. Children in this age group love action, so allow your child to press play or pause when watching a toothbrushing video, get them to brush by themselves while you observe them and check that they have done it properly afterwards. 5yo’s enjoy playing with other children so a great idea is to have a play date with one of their friends and get them to talk about toothbrushing with their friends. They are great at showing their friends what they own and how to do things, so a new toothbrush or a fun video experience is a great way to share with their peers. Toothbrushing Video #3 | Sesame Street: Brushy Brush PSA Kids at this age like to see what other people are doing and join in. When I’m treating kids at this age, I use the method of Show Tell Do. This video is great in that respect because it shows real people of all ages brushing their teeth. The downside is that it doesn’t go for a full two minutes but it’s highly effective in showing lots of different people using different toothbrushes with and without their guardians. 5yo’s will enjoy it because it’s highly relatable.
Children at this age are starting to become more independent. A lot of changes are occurring with the transitioning into school and this can often lead to anxiety and fear in new situations and surroundings. Different approaches and techniques are required at this age to reassure and engage 6-7yo’s. The Show Tell Do technique is again vital in this age group. You can do this by demonstrating how you brush your own teeth, then instruct your child on how to brush their teeth and then get them to do it themselves. Toothbrushing Video #4 | “Brush Your Teeth” I’m going to be quite frank, I forgot I was listening to a kids toothbrushing song. The reggae inspired music can be replayed with little annoyance factor. Because kiddies are now independent, they will be busy brushing to even watch the video itself. So what I am looking for is a song that can be repeated and is two minutes long. The lyrics are displayed throughout the video, so kids can learn them and it’s easy to sing along to it. The only issue I found was that instead of writing ‘smile’, they use the ‘:)’ short code which some kids might find confusing. No high pitched baby voices and simple graphics makes this great for all ages and kids with special needs.
There you have it.
I just highlighted some key aspects of the Pre-operational Period of Piaget’s Four Stages of Intellectual Development.
Not only did you gain some key knowledge about managing kids from an oral health point of view, but now you are also armed with some catchy toothbrushing videos.
Need a dentist good with kids? Give Riverstone Family Dental a call on: (02) 8678 3538