Summer is the time that your child looks forward to all year long — and now you might deal with the “but it’s summer” answer whenever you tell them to do something. While there are plenty of times that you can relax the usual rules during the summer — late bedtime, for example — teeth brushing is not one of those.  Many kids tend to fall into the summertime mentality when it comes to brushing their teeth, which can mean that it doesn’t get done nearly as well or as often as it does when school is in session. Because oral health is important at every time of year, you’ll need some clever ways to motivate your child to keep brushing all summer long. Here are three top tips that can help.

Get Some Cool New Brushing Gear

On the first day of official summer vacation, take your child to pick out some new brushing gear. Let them pick out a new brush, a new flavor of toothpaste, and a new bottle of mouthwash. Because this allows your child to put their own unique personality into it, they may be more likely to use the items. If the brush happens to be shocking orange or purple and the toothpaste is a crazy flavor that sounds just awful to you — well, that’s perfectly fine as long as your kid loves it. While you’re choosing new brushing gear, have your child pick out a toothbrush travel case if you plan any vacations this summer. This can be a subtle reminder that brushing can equal fun times.

Make Brushing Rewarding

It can be hard to stay on track with regular routines during the summer, so most kids can benefit from a special incentive. Make a simple chart that keeps track of their toothbrushing progress each day. For each day of the week, have two slots to check off: Morning and night. If your child brushes properly for two full minutes in the morning, they get a checkmark and the same thing before bed. After a perfect streak of one week, give them an award. This can be anything they like and value — gift cards tend to be popular with most kids! If your child extends their perfect brushing streak to a full month, they can earn another award. This can be a bigger gift card, a special privilege like a summer concert, or anything else that your child wants very badly. Even if having healthy teeth doesn’t quite motivate your child like it should, rewards will definitely do the trick.

Put Your Child in Control

One way to increase your child’s interest and motivation in brushing is to help them feel like they’re in control of the brushing themselves. While you’ll be monitoring, you might be able to do so a bit more loosely if your child has something to keep them on track. Consider using a special brushing time app on your smartphone. These apps can sing songs about brushing,  collect virtual monsters as awards, or customize a playlist of their favorite music — all for the recommended two-minute brushing intervals, of course. If you allow your child to launch the app and follow along on their own, they are more likely to feel engaged in the process — and this can help with motivation to keep doing this routine every day.

Summertime can be fun for kids but is often stressful for parents. If you use the toothbrushing tips above, you’ll have one less thing to worry about this summer. Need some help with the new summer brushing routine? Dr. Maggie Davis is here for you. Dr. Davis is a pediatric dentist who helps her young Palm Harbor, Florida patients achieve the best oral health every day.  Dr. Davis offers check-ups, extractions, cavity fillings, orthodontics, root canals, cosmetic dentistry, emergency dentistry, and many other services. Contact Dr. Davis today for an appointment!