We have probably all heard the saying: “Children thrive in structure.” The Centers for Disease Control states: “Consistency, predictability, and follow-through are important for creating structure in the home”. The AAP has developed a wonderful program to help parents create a new bedtime structure with oral health care routines. This program includes information for families to establish a structured nighttime routine for their children which includes: brushing teeth, reading a book, and creating a regular bedtime each night. It was created from evidence-based research by the AAP. It was designed for children six months old up to six years of age.
This exciting program links oral health with early literacy and developing a regular bedtime routine. AAP’s user-friendly website includes: bookmarks, posters, and additional resources and suggestions to help implement this in the homes of young children. Information is available in Spanish and English.
For more information see: www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Oral-Health/Pages/Brush-Book-Bed.aspx
A few suggestions for each part of the routine:
Brush: Use ½ pea size of fluoride toothpaste for children under 3 years of age and brush two times a day for two minutes. For children 3+ years, also brush two times a day for two minutes with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
Book: Children love to hear the voice of their parents/caregivers. The AAP suggests singing, talking, and reading aloud as much as possible. Read stories every day.
Bed: After brushing and reading together, it is time to go to bed. Babies should sleep on their backs without a pillow (handouts in English and Spanish) www.aap.org/en-us/Documents/BBB_Parent_Handout.pdf
Including these three steps as part of your nightly routine will not only help children make the transition from day to night but will help establish healthy habits. Let us know in the comments below if you use these steps in your bedtime routine!