Singing scales while brushing teeth

Toothbrushing + toddler how-to, from Rachel:

My daughter is 2.5 and is able to regularly brush her teeth, but does not always want to.  If I want to get in there to finish the job, I encourage her to open wide by singing "Ah!"  like when the doctor looks down her throat.  When a regular "Ah!" gets boring, we try doing high and low pitch.  The gives me enough time to get in there.  "Eee! " works for brushing the front of the teeth.  When she is more cooperative, I talk her through doing the "Ah!"s and "Eee!"s  and congratulate her for finishing by herself.  Both sounds are fun to do in front of the mirror and can be followed up with spitting in the sink.

Related: How to get toddlers to spit out the toothpaste? Talk amongst yourselves.

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  1. mel says

    We’ve employed a few singing sessions as well! Also popular one is the zoo-time brush: “grrrrr” for the front teeth, “ROAR!” for the molars.

  2. hedra says

    ooh, the zoo one is a good companion for the ‘I think I saw a bunny hiding in there’ one. They think it is funny when I try to ‘brush the bunny out of behind their teeth’. (Did I get that one from here? It was a good one.)

  3. Jill in Atlanta says

    I try to remember some of the things they’ve eaten during the day and scrub them away, saying “ooh, there’s the macaroni, and I think I can get that cookie if you open wider…” I’m not sure if they really think I can see it all or not. Then at the end, we make “shark teeth” to brush the front and they stick out their tongue at themselves in the mirror to brush it.

  4. Sandy says

    We do the vowels: “say A, E, I, O” and finally “U are done!” Some repeating there as well to get those in the back and sometimes the sounds to the vowels mixed in to prolong the experience.

  5. says

    My daughter (20 months) loves to brush her teeth, but she often doesn’t want to give up the toothbrush so that I can “finish up”. I distract her by singing Raffi’s “Brush Your Teeth”. (Aside: You should have seen her face the first time she heard the original on CD. Some MAN was singing our song! Heh.)

  6. says

    My husband could have written this post! He started doing this with my now 3 year old and I’ve always thought it was clever.

  7. says

    This is great! I tried it tonight and it was very helpful. Thanks!

    At teethtime, my son likes to make “funny faces” by hooking his fingers in his cheeks and pulling them outward- which really helps me get to all of his teeth & help brush brush brush.

  8. says

    I just had to pop in and say that I tried Jill’s hack from these comments (remembering what they’ve eaten during the day and then “brushing it off their teeth”) and it works! It really works!