Toddlers, tantrums and teeth brushing!

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Gemma JohnsonMy living nightmare at the moment is the combination that is a wilful 2.5 year-old child imposing their independence and the twice daily routine of teeth brushing.

Each morning a wrestle breaks out by the bathroom sink between one toothbrush, an Afro Baby’s vice-like grip and my hand. Phoebe always wins as I realise as soon as she screws her face up, if I manage to get the brush from her, she’ll throw a massive tantrum and I’ll never get the brush in through her clamped shut mouth.

So, I give in, timing my release just at the point that her face starts to contort and I sit there defeated whist she attempts to brush her teeth. In fairness she does try for all of a split second but always ends up brushing her lips or sucking the toothpaste off and then announcing “finished”.

I have tried loads of tactics, telling her to let me brush and see what animals I can see in there.  This worked a treat until I ran out of animals and said: “Aaaannnd, I can see four elephants and five ants” she let out an almighty scream and I spent five minutes holding her in front of the mirror telling her mummy was only joking and the only animals in there had now run away, never to return.

I tried a DVD called I Can Do, which works a treat to get her to sing along to the song and even do a little booty shake in front of the TV, but she is a little too young to be able to sing along with me with her mouth open and a toothbrush going round and round her teeth.

On the MyFamilyClub Just Ask section, a member did post the question around how to get their son to brush his teeth; I gave my examples above (minus the ants and screaming fit). Not long after, I had an email pop in to my inbox from a wonderful company that publishers a book called “How to clean your teeth” and “What to eat and drink for healthy teeth”.

My booklets arrived in the post and I couldn’t wait to get home and try them out on Afro Baby. They worked a treat! We had a little routine where she would sit on my lap and we would go page by page. I forgot one morning and she actually prompted me “book mummy”.

The booklet is really colourful, short and well illustrated, making it super easy for children to follow. It also fosters engagement between parent and child and sets a routine and plan to follow, making teeth brushing a smoother and educational activity rather than a scrum at the sink, followed by toothpaste-covered walls and tantrums.

I can’t recommend these books highly enough and think they are incredibly good value for money for the benefit both parent and child gets from reading them.

how to clean your teethAt £2.99 for one or £4.49 for both, these really are a must have “bathroom accessory” for any parent struggling with teeth time.

The books can be bought from

I’d just like to say a “Big Thank you” to Ian Aguado-Bush and David Foreman for coming to my rescue with these books! They have made such a difference to our morning routine, as we start the day with one less tantrum and cleaner teeth all round (including my own).