You have been a trooper, brushing the kids’ teeth every morning and night or looking over their shoulders to make sure they do it properly. Is it time to let them take full responsibility? When do you know your kids can brush their own teeth – and do a thorough enough job? Here are 7 signs that you’ll soon be off the hook:
1. Your child is between the ages of 6 to 9. The actual age varies for every child, but it’s typically within this range that they graduate from being supervised to handling the routine on their own. Reminders to brush, however, may still be called for. 2. You have an expert with the laces. Brushing every angle of the teeth takes manual dexterity, which kids hone as they get older. Developing enough dexterity to tie their own shoes is a sign that they’re ready to do their own brushing, too. 3. The homework and chores get done. When your child begins to show personal responsibility through activities like completing homework, doing chores, preparing outfits, and preparing meals on their own initiative, it’s easier to trust that they’ll follow through with brushing properly. 4. They’ve learned cursive. When your child’s fine motor skills have produced mastery of writing cursive, they can navigate the toothbrush with precision and ease. 5. Hygiene matters. Your child showers without help and washes her own hair, then tackles the hairbrush to ease out the tangles. These are signs that hygiene is now a priority – oral hygiene included! 6. They pass the tablet test. Why take chances? Have your kids chew plaque disclosing tables before brushing, and see how consistently they can remove the color from their teeth. When the teeth brush clean, you’re in the clear! 7. They pass the parent test. You’ve gone from brushing their teeth for them to watching them brush. Let them brush on their own, then check the results. Passing parent approval is one of the surest signs of all!