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Why and How to Praise Your Child for Brushing Their Teeth

April 6, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — brushforkids @ 6:46 pm
Dad praising young daughter for brushing her teeth

Praise is a powerful training tool for children. When it is properly delivered, it can help little ones to grow in self-confidence and develop good habits and qualities. The power of praise even extends to children’s dental health. Let’s talk about why and how you should commend your child for brushing their teeth.

Why Is Praise So Important?

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania set out to determine how parental praise influenced children’s persistence in brushing their teeth. The study participants came from a range of ethnic backgrounds and income levels.

One of the researchers noted, “Our work is the first to show that fluctuations in parent praise relate to fluctuations in child persistence.” Interestingly, the study found that children showed more persistence in brushing their teeth when they received more praise about their efforts and fewer instructions on how to brush. Most of the praise consisted of parents saying things like “nice job,” “very good,” or similar phrases.

How to Praise Your Child for Brushing Their Teeth

Here are a few tips to help you deliver effective praise to your child:

  • Be honest and sincere. Your child may have much room for improvement in the way they brush their teeth, but you can likely find some aspect of their efforts that truly deserves commendation. Most kids can sense over-praise and insincere praise, and they often have a negative reaction to it.
  • Be consistent. Children thrive on praise, so it doesn’t hurt to praise them repeatedly for similar things. However, be careful not to praise them too much. When they come to expect praise, your words of encouragement could lose some of their power.
  • Try not to compare. Comparing your child (either negatively or positively) with siblings or other peers could lead them to evaluate their behavior based on others’ efforts, not their own.
  • Praise the effort and the process. Even if your child is young and cannot thoroughly brush their teeth on their own, you can still praise them for what they do. For example, you can say, “You remembered to brush the backs of your teeth. Great job!”
  • Ask your child’s dentist for help. The dentist has lots of experience working with kids and may know some effective phrases or methods for instilling good habits that you wouldn’t otherwise think of.

Keep Working to Develop Good Habits in Your Child

Brushing teeth is not a task that most children enjoy. Much like exercise or chores, it may be something that requires a lot of time for them to recognize the value of. However, you can be confident that if you consistently work to instill good dental habits in your little one, they will remember your efforts and blossom into an adult who has a healthy and confident smile.

Meet the Practice

The four pediatric dentists in our practice have many years of combined experience. They enjoy working with all sorts of children, and they derive great satisfaction from helping kids to develop good habits. If you have questions about your little one’s oral health, our team would be happy to speak with you. Contact us at 630-504-2223.

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