My toddler hates brushing. Who doesn’t? I had to develop in her the habit of brushing. So every morning I tried. I took her to the bathroom, got a stool for her. She stood on it day in and day out. Jumping, feeling like a queen, she looked majestic too. But as soon as it was placed in the bathroom, she ran away. She had this trick of charm, she, to avoid brushing started playing with everyone in the house, from here to there to everywhere. If caught she would shriek and escape and just try to distract everyone.
So one day I had to take her brother for his dental appointment I took her too. She was so psyched but her brother wasn’t. Anna looking at her brother became a little doubtful. Andy didn’t want to go to the dentist’s and was mildly scared. He even tugged on my dress to pull us away from the clinic. We went in and they had those big couches in the waiting room, with all sorts of magazines in their side pockets, as my children involved themselves with various illustrated glossy papers, I went to the back to talk to the doctor whenever he had time because he was a family friend too.
As soon as he got time he came
‘my daughter doesn’t want to brush her teeth, so I was thinking maybe you can scare her off a little.’
He considered it.
‘fine enough, let me get done with this appointment and I will check Andy and then call her in, okay?’
And so it was decided. We waited, she played and asked me about all the pictures which only had teeth showing and I told her that she can put up her picture there if she brushes. She didn’t agree. So when the doctor calls Andy, we waited. She asked me what’s happening to her brother.
“Why is Andy inside? What did he do?”
“Andy is here because he wants to keep his mouth healthy and protect it from germs”
“what are germs?”
“Germs are what you will get if you don’t brush your teeth. They will make your teeth black and they will make you suffer through pain”
“No No. I am nice and I can fight germs”
“Anna come in…” the doctor called for us and so we went in. Andy was lying down on the recliner chair. With his mouth propped open. The doctor gestured for us to sit in a corner. While checking Andy he started making conversation.
“So what is your favorite hobby, Anna?”
“Yes, I am good at it.”
“that’s great, do you like movies?”
“Come watch this”
He made her recline on his chair and started the T.V. and pulled up a cartoon film. It had her favorite cartoon characters talking about teeth, stinky mouth, brushing, etc. all the topics that she wanted to avoid. She saw Tom suffering from a toothache and then Jerry giving him a tube of toothpaste and brush in the end which made him more comfortable, generally. It wasn’t a scarring movie but Anna was motivated enough the next day to brush her teeth herself. Shift the stool, stand on it and do it every day. Her idols did things which she mimicked which then she formed into habits. From a little visual aid, I ended up motivating her to form such a nice habit.