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#1 of 28 Old 04-08-2013, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How do you handle brushing teeth, nail clipping, with your toddler? Tooth brushing used to be funny to 14 mo DD, now she will have absolutely nothing to do with it... no amount of singing, silliness or even video distraction will work, I would literally have to pin her down.  Not worth it! In the last week I've only been able to get in maybe 5 seconds on either the top or the bottom teeth total all day.  Nail clipping I can sometimes use a video to distract her for long enough but I have a feeling that will not last.  What do you do?


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#2 of 28 Old 04-08-2013, 03:37 PM
 
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Nail clipping is worst for me. I do it while she's asleep but there are times where I don't dare risk waking her up so she has long nails more than she should.
Toothbrushing is a bit better but she does it herself. We all stand around the sink and she mimics DH and I. Sometimes she just chews on the head or sucks the water off the bristles though eyesroll.gif As far as I'm concerned, bristles and teeth make contact and she isn't hating it: good enough at 2 years old. I'll keep my eye on this thread for more ideas. I totally hear you though.
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#3 of 28 Old 04-08-2013, 03:59 PM
 
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Toothbrushing (so far!) is usually not too bad with DS (22mos). I sit him on the counter next to the sink and give him his own little toothbrush to use (read: chew on) and I brush my own teeth to demonstrate. Then I rinse out my toothbrush and get him to make "eeee" and "ahhhh" sounds while I get his teeth with my toothbrush. Yeah, I use my toothbrush on him, probably kinda gross, but it works.
Nails are tricky for me, too, skycheattraffic. I'll notice they're getting kina long and start clipping them a couple at a time as I can, over the course of a day. Or even two days. It's getting better as he's getting older and can understand more.
What I really need help with is some way to make diaper changes less torturous. He HATES to lay down for them, and frequently goes down crying, which makes us both feel terrible. We're working on potty learning, and he's doing great, but I don't see diapers leaving the picture in the immediate future.
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#4 of 28 Old 04-08-2013, 09:22 PM
 
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I used to cut nails while DD was sleeping, now I still often do her fingernails when she falls asleep (in-arms) for her nap. Toenails I do after a bath once in a while. I usually distract her with a toy and sing while I'm doing it, or count the toes and make a silly song out of that. Last time I was cutting them I started exclaiming about what nice toes and feet she has in a high pitched voice and she kept asking me to cut more nails, LOL.

 

For teeth we brush every day, no matter the complaints. Usually once she opens her mouth and I start brushing she's fine, it's just the getting started that's tough sometimes. While I'm brushing I talk about which teeth I'm brushing ("now the top, now the bottom, left side, right side") so she knows what's going on. Also I mimic what I want her to do with my mouth, that seems to help sometimes, while making "aaaaaaa" sounds to open and "shhhhhh" to get her front teeth. Sometimes I ask her to stick her tongue out and brush it, that seems to provide some amusement so we alternate between tongue and teeth a bit.

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#5 of 28 Old 04-08-2013, 09:53 PM
 
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This could be just a phase as it was for my DS. It was kind of a long phase though I guess.

I used to cut his nails while he was nursing, but then he weaned and I had to figure out other ways. For a while the only way I could cut his nails was to put on a short Thomas the Train on youtube which was a huge treat for him because he doesn't watch much TV. He would be so distracted he hardly noticed what was going on. Then I started bringing his attention to what I was doing while he was relaxed and watching and making it funny saying "snip-snap" and other silly sounds that would make him giggle. I also had him watch me cut my own nails. That transition took a few months, now he's totally fine with it (unless grumpy or tired, then I don't even bother trying). I don't think it's a good idea to hold them down and make it a big deal- I know sometimes you just HAVE to do it (and I've done it too) but I think that makes things worse in the long run.

 

We had a couple months of troubles tooth-brushing too. Sometimes it helped to just give DS the toothbrush with LOADS of tasty toothpaste on it and let him chew on it and brush his own teeth for a few minutes and then he'd let me do it. Make sure your little one isn't having pain or sensitivity in their mouth because this was once an issue for us and was a reason he was fighting toothbrushing- DS had been eating pineapple a lot (too much) and it was irritating his mouth. Now we have a tooth brushing routine (and regular times when we ALWAYS brush teeth) and one song that I sing- he knows we brush from the start of the song till the end and that's it. (Mary had a little lamb- except I use DS's name and let him choose the animal I sing about each time and change up the words to make it funny... "it's TEETH were white as snow" etc)


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#6 of 28 Old 04-09-2013, 04:39 AM
 
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I have always filed my boy's nails down, rather than use a clipper or scissors, and in his sleep. Just lately (and he's almost three) he'll let me do it while he watches a video, and the last time I even cut them with the scissors first and then filed them for smoothness! I also have to cut his hair while he sleeps, which let me tell you is not easy!

We had tooth brushing struggles but for unknown reasons he had a turnaround and now is okay with it. I find it helps to have his own stool (we got him one with a train on it) in the bathroom and he stands on it and can watch himself brush in the mirror. I agree with not pinning him down, which I also never did. Honestly I think if I had done it that way, he may not have had this change of heart and become open to it. Oh one more thing that worked was asking him what was in there....like: "oh! oh! oh! look! I see a giraffe driving a motorcycle! Ooooh, and is that a race car?!" -type thing and then brushing those out.

 

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#7 of 28 Old 04-10-2013, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Now I'm really starting to feel bad, she has not let me near her mouth with either the finger toothbrush or toddler toothbrush in days. She cries, turns her head and pushes me away. I did try putting her on the counter while I brush and give her a toothbrush but she's more interested in what she can get into. I don't want to push too much as I'm sure that will just put her off more...

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#8 of 28 Old 04-10-2013, 05:09 PM
 
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We have gone through plenty of anti toothbrushing phases, but it's non negotiable in our home. We've definitely just had to hold her down at times. Luckily, she's in a happy brushing phase currently.

It sounds like toothbrushing may not be super important to you?
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#9 of 28 Old 04-10-2013, 05:33 PM
 
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My 23 month old has two brushes. She uses one and I use some distraction and use the second on her. She usually cooperates and even if it's just water I'm okay with that. We have the fluoride free stuff but she doesn't like it much.

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#10 of 28 Old 04-10-2013, 07:23 PM
 
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nail clipping  when he is sleeping and brushing i just get maybe 10 seconds once a day.
 

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#11 of 28 Old 04-10-2013, 08:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It sounds like toothbrushing may not be super important to you?

That's the thing, I am here because I am super bothered about this, especially about needing to hold her down.  It feels violent, but I realize how important it is.  I would like to avoid that if possible, but if left with no other option I guess I will have to go back to that until she realizes that it really is non negotiable.


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#12 of 28 Old 04-11-2013, 04:42 AM
 
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Yeah - i think you sometimes have to weigh out what's most important. For us, toothbrushing is non negotiable, similar to other things like wearing sunscreen when appropriate or fastening a seatbelt (although skipping one tooth brushing is way different than skipping the seatbelt one time).

We are also all about NOT holding DD down, but she's super spirited, so sometimes all the tricks in the world don't work. I promise - we've tried them all many times over.

There are times when it's simply about which is more important to you - not holding her down or having her teeth brushed.

In your OP you said holding her down for teethbrushing is "not worth it," so just go with whatever you ultimately decide are your priorities.
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#13 of 28 Old 04-11-2013, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Luckily today I was able to get the finger brush in her mouth for long enough to brush by pouncing on her when she was in a good mood and giving my silliest "wheels on the bus". I need a bigger repetoire of songs! This is the only way we get through diaper changes, car seats, coming inside, etc!

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#14 of 28 Old 04-11-2013, 04:47 PM
 
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I forgot to mention, we brush before bedtime after DD gets washed (either hands/feet/face or a shower/bath) and we are putting on her night time diaper and PJs. So she's laying down anyway for the other stuff. Maybe that's what makes it easier. Though when she doesn't want to brush she can kick her feet like crazy!

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#15 of 28 Old 04-11-2013, 06:02 PM
 
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Luckily today I was able to get the finger brush in her mouth for long enough to brush by pouncing on her when she was in a good mood and giving my silliest "wheels on the bus". I need a bigger repetoire of songs! This is the only way we get through diaper changes, car seats, coming inside, etc!

I had this great song that we used for a while, to the tune of Camptown Races: Oh, B doesn't want her diaper changed, doo-dah, doo-dah/ But she has to do it anyway, oh doo-dah-day

Oh, and the Do the Brushy Brushy song worked great for a while, too. That's a good one because there's lots of built in breaks.
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#16 of 28 Old 04-11-2013, 07:06 PM
 
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Yeah, I'd rather get a root canal than do personal hygeine with a toddler.  And I have a toddler, so yeah, it's not my favorite.  The crying, screaming, wails, whining, thrashing, stubborn refusals...good times.  No advice, just a lot of sympathy.

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#17 of 28 Old 04-11-2013, 07:53 PM
 
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Oi, I share your pain! My toddler is 32 months old. For a few months now we've had a good evening tooth brushing routine going where we let her watch a video while brushing. For a long while she loved to watch the trailer to the movie "Babies." Lately she's been into the Muppets so we let her watch a music video from one of the Muppet movies.

 

Nail clipping: I just cut as many as I can, when I can. When we're reading together I'm sometimes able to trim a few. Sometimes it helps a little to hype up the treat of some special lotion that she can put on after I've finished her "spa treatment"...

 

But hair brushing. Yikes! My DD has the loveliest hair but she won't let me do a thing with it! I have to chase her with a brush and just kind of swipe at her hair as she flails on the floor avoiding me. Every now and then I'm able to hold her down long enough to get her hair pulled back out of her face with a ponytail holder. Sometimes a video helps but I prefer not to introduce that tactic first thing in the morning because it sets a bad precedent for the rest of the day. We've tried barrettes and headbands but they slip off too easily.


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#18 of 28 Old 04-11-2013, 08:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just have to laugh at this thread, I'm glad I'm not alone!

With the diapers, we CD but I was in CVS and saw those new Huggies that pull up and fantasized briefly about how much easier that woul make my life...

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#19 of 28 Old 04-15-2013, 10:37 AM
 
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I have issues brushing DD teeth, she's 13 months old. She gets her tongue in the way and I have no idea if I'm actually brushing teeth! She just wants to get the toothbrush wet and then suck the water out. It's cute, but I don't think we're accomplishing much. I don't want her to hate brushing her teeth, so I'm hoping for a turn-around soon. Clipping her fingernails is impossible as well. I can only do it when she's asleep.
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#20 of 28 Old 04-15-2013, 11:13 AM
 
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What I really need help with is some way to make diaper changes less torturous. He HATES to lay down for them, and frequently goes down crying, which makes us both feel terrible. We're working on potty learning, and he's doing great, but I don't see diapers leaving the picture in the immediate future.

The tricks I use for diaper changes are:
1. Give DD a small flashlight, she loves playing with the light on the ceiling.

2. Roll of tape. Give kiddo tape only during diaper change. The stickyness is fascinating. Somtimes I'll stick tape on her hands, face, belly, and feet, and the time it takes her to find and unstick them from her body and investigate each piece gives me just enough time to change that diaper. It's a fun game and I go over body parts with her at the same time. ("What's on your right cheek? Wow, it's a piece of sticky tape!"). Stickers work great and are a fun surprise, but that could get expensive for every change.

3. I put the music player on my phone and let her play music...sometimes we call daddy so they can chat. That cracks her up.

4. I find something in the house that she normally doesn't get to hold or she hasn't seen in a while, like my big chunky jewelry or a snow globe (I have two made out of plastic, not glass, reserved for diaper changes. She is crazy for snow globes!) When she's all into it sitting on the floor, I lay her down and change her diaper while she explores that item.

I always tell her what I'm doing and I usually need to have 3 or 4 things at the ready for each diaper change. It seems to be important that the distraction be novel to DD or forget it, so have things that you can rotate and only pop out during diaper changes. I have found that getting her interested in something before the change and then telling her that, "You can play with that while I change your diaper! Wow! Isn't that cool?!?" And lots and lots of "Good baby! So nice to play and get a wonderful dry clean diaper!" And "Doesn't that feel better?" at the end helps. She still, after all that, sometimes would rather not lay still. But these distractions do help more often then not. Hope that helps!
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#21 of 28 Old 04-15-2013, 12:24 PM
 
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Toothbrushing has been an evolving thing with us and DS.  When he was little (2 years old?) we gave him the toothbrush and said: "you can do it while we count to 10 and then it is my turn to do it for 10".  He did always like doing the toothbrush himself so that helped.  Now that he has gotten older he still does it himself but we tell him that mommy/daddy have to check his teeth. Something you might also try if you are concerned about dental hygiene is flossing.  I know it sounds a little crazy but someone told me that they flossed their toddler's teeth by having them sit in front of them and the child lay their head back into their lap.  I thought it was nuts until I gave it a try and he will sit there - we use a small stool in front of the toilet - and let us floss his teeth.  I tell him little stories while I am flossing his teeth, he seems to like the closeness, and I feel less worried about how well we are brushing. 

 

With the fingernails it seemed to help if I did mine first while he was watching and gave him the nail file to occupy one hand while I do the other.  

 

Hope you find something that helps!

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#22 of 28 Old 04-16-2013, 06:23 AM
 
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We let our 20 month old brush his own teeth.  Every few days I tend to think that they need an extra good clean by me, so I let him try brushing my teeth whilst I brush his, he really concentrates on it, but it can get messy!  I also let him pick out his own toothbrushes when we get new ones and let him play with it in the packaging or have it on site until it's time to brush his teeth and he gets a much better job done for the first couple of weeks or so of getting a new one.  I use the TV and a toy in his other hand whilst I clip his nails, he gets a little impatient before I've finished sometimes though, so I might need another strategy.  

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#23 of 28 Old 04-16-2013, 09:41 AM
 
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My little one brushes her teeth, but they do it daily at daycare to help promote it. She lets me brush her teeth if all she is doing is being silly with the toothbrush. She has her My Little Pony cup and she is as happy as can be.

 

I clip her nails one a week, and she just takes it; usually before bed. I let her have them nail clippers when I am done and she "cuts" my nails (I lock that thing up tight before she "cuts"). She just wants to do things like mama. I guess I lucked out?

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#24 of 28 Old 04-16-2013, 10:12 AM
 
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Diapers- I agree, a flashy toy you only use during diaper changes works for us

 

Toothbrushing- oh, this one breaks my heart.  My DD has some oral issues from having been in the NICU.  Overall it's not too big of a deal now, but she really fights us with brushing her teeth (although she's happy to "brush" them herself, although I'm sure ineffectively).  One one hand I am a careful dental person myself, and would be horrified if she had dental problems.  On the other hand I fear we will worsen her oral aversion- she's had a lot of painful things done to her mouth as a newborn and I can't imagine contributing to that twice a day.  Plus She drinks milk at night, again I think stemming from the oral issues making her very particular about when she can focus on drinking milk- she doesn't drink much during the day, and I really feel (or have really convinced myself) she needs the night feedings still (a topic for another thread, I guess).  So, altogether this is a HARD ONE.  No advice to offer, but I agree it is not just "what are your priorities" but "what is the least damaging to my child?"

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#25 of 28 Old 04-16-2013, 11:50 AM
 
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but I agree it is not just "what are your priorities" but "what is the least damaging to my child?"

 

But priorities include evaluating what's least damaging to your child - priorities are about weighing the pros and cons and deciding what's most important.

 

In our case, we tried every trick we could think of or read about, and our super spirited DD still goes through several phases of refusing teeth brushing.  So evaluating our priorities included us deciding which damaged her the least - pinning her down or not brushing her teeth.

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#26 of 28 Old 04-18-2013, 06:18 AM
 
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We went through this too.  What finally worked for us was singing This Old Man - someone else mentioned singing the same song every time too, then they know when it will be over (plus you can learn counting!).  And I'd make up silly rhymes instead of the standard ones to keep him interested.

 

For fingernail clipping, one day he just decided that it was the most awful thing you could possibly do to him, so it threw us a bit.  We found that it was easier for him after bathtime when the nails were soft, it wasn't as loud and abrupt feeling that way.  And sometimes, we'd only get through one or two and would have to wait until bath time rolled around again to get a couple more in. 


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#27 of 28 Old 04-18-2013, 07:52 PM
 
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Every kid is different when it comes to this, so yep it comes down to a decision about your own priorities and how they fit in with (and how best to accommodate) the personality and temperament of your child. Different approaches work for different kids. More often than not though, I tend to think making things into a positive or neutral experience is better in the long run even though you may have to deal with periods of poor hygiene. 

For us tooth brushing is really important, but I also figured that short periods of crappy or no brushing and laying off the pressure (NOT holding DS down and forcing it) was better in the long run. I think for my DS having less of an overall stressful and unpleasant experience with brushing and hygiene procedures is more important for cultivating a positive or at least neutral attitude toward these things. I found that when I did use forceful measures his resistance increased overall and his hostility and stress when bringing out the toothbrush, clippers, shampoo etc. was longer lasting and more frequent.


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#28 of 28 Old 04-19-2013, 07:13 PM
 
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DS loves his toothbrush and "brushing" ( read: chewing on the brush) his teeth. HATES if I try to direct his brushing or brush his teeth myself. I let him do his own thing in the morning 100% and do a less fun, more forced brushing at night. That's this week anyway.

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