Monday, January 16, 2012

In the Bathroom - brushing teeth - cleaning up your mess

When it comes to dental care I think even adults who are more likely to  value the importance of dental hygiene don't do too well - maybe brush teeth once a day, no flossing, not making appointments –dentists, cleanings  etc

It is about missing skills, competence, transitioning from an activity in order to brush teeth, keeping a routine

When I drill down for concerns , I ask , if the concern stated would be addressed by …  or if the problem did not exist - do you feel that brushing your teeth everyday would no longer be a problem  If still a problem , we have a new concern on the table. If the solutions are not working – we can do Plan B on the problem -  brushing your teeth is not important for you , what's up ?  can you tell me more ?

- when I remind you etc to go and brush your teeth , you say – not now , in a few moments etc and then you don't get  around to brushing your teeth what's up ?  If a kid says he doesn't want to talk about it , a Plan B conversation will be -  I have noticed when I want to talk to you about brushing teeth , you don't want to talk about it , what's up ?

It also helps if the issue of brushing teeth is initiated or confronted by the kid's dentist if possible using cps. Lots of thought is needed to help a kid become competent -  maybe  doing things together, poster reminders etc .

When kids learn about dental hygiene in depth and learn to identify with the value of brushing and more committed to prevention, and also learn methods to help them stick to a routine and brush well = competence and feel supported in their efforts the tooth brushing no longer remains the parent's concern

We can also try to give brushing an association of fun , something that holds true for all activities in the home.

I am not an advocate of using rewards or extrinsic motivation to get a kid to brush teeth , as it only works for the short term.  But we reframe things and ask the kid if he needed some type of motivators to help him meet his goal of brushing his teeth. Here the reward is self determined and used to help the kid meet his goal , rather than the parent bribing the kid.

When it comes to not leaving the bathroom in a mess , I have different thoughts. Some kids are messy, part of their personalities, usually we see a change when they mature , later teenage years. The home is my responsibility, I want it clean , and it is less trouble and quicker to clean up myself .

The other approach –in addition to cps like my suggestions on teeth brushing is to learn about the subject of running and keeping a house organized , getting rid of clutter, using signs , posters, explain the procedures of how to organize a room , how to go about tidying up , throwing out things.


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