It’s hard not to fall back on old habits. Where a new parent would not have any experiences with tantrums or being with small children, I have preschool teaching experiences and tactics. Gives me a little bit of a leg up.
For example, tooth brushing at night. Pretty sure pulling your child away from Curious George to go stand in the bathroom isn’t difficult at all (ha, it is). However, if you can make the tooth brushing as fun as watching a cartoon monkey get into mischievous adventures, then you have a shot.
My routine with my son goes like this:
Me: “Let’s go brush our teeth.” (i.e. “our” teeth)
Son: “Okay Dada.”
Me and my son walk into the bathroom. Son pulls out stepping stool and then steps up to sink. I get the tooth brushes and tooth pastes. I put the special “Minion” tooth paste on my son’s brush and I put the cavity prevention on mine.
A leg up for tiny little legs.
Together, we brush our teeth. Me brushing my teeth is “buy-in” for my son to brush his teeth. You know? He has motivation to brush his teeth because he wants to copy his Dad. My son brushes when I brush, spits when I spits, and rinses when I rinse. It’s a cute little routine.
That’s it. A few minutes that has become a routine. I change it up now and then to make each brushing eventful and entertaining, but the core routine doesn’t change.
I would not have done this if I were a new parent: have a whole routine. But, as a former preschool teacher, I understand that children need routines, motivation, and entertainment if you want them to do something, such as a daily, health routine.
Oh, and that fun stuff I do to change up the routine now and then? Try talking in Minion voices. Get’s my son every time. “King Bob!”