Playful mum creates genius game to get her toddler to clean her teeth

Hannah Woodman, 31, from Wiltshire, said the "dreaded" morning and evening routine would always result in tears and a tantrum with two-and-a-half-year-old Liberty.

Hannah, who is a childminder and also lives with husband Andy, a builder, was at her wit’s end, so decided to turn teeth brushing into a game.

She revealed on Facebook how she told Liberty she was opening up a dental practice upstairs at home, the little girl had to wait her turn, and was called when the ‘dentist’ was ready.

Hannah said Liberty loved the game, and now even asks if the dentist can open early.

The post, in the group Gentle Parenting UK, has resonated with mothers across the country, and has received more than 1,000 likes and hundreds of comments in just a few hours.

Posting a picture of the successful teeth-cleaning sessions, which have been happening for more than a week, Hannah wrote: "I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s had a nightmare with teeth brushing with little ones.

"I was filled with dread, even mentioning the word she would run a mile, we would have tears, we tried everything.

"So I told her I was opening up a dentist upstairs.

"I told her she had to wait in the 'waiting room' I would come and get her when I had got the room ready (at this point I thought she would probably run off once she saw the brush).

"Anyway, I came out and said 'Liberty Woodman would you like to come in', she came walking in, I asked her to lay down and rest her head on my lap, I said I would count her teeth first.. and my assistant (dad) would write the numbers down..

"I said I would now make them sparkle… so I started brushing while talking to her saying 'wow you must really look after your teeth they look amazing!!'

"'You must eat really well I can’t see any bad spots.'

‘I brushed her teeth more thoroughly than ever before! She got up, said thank you very much I will see you again tomorrow. She went out and “paid at the “reception”.

"She even asked earlier if we can go and open the dentist.. it may not work for everyone but it’s literally transformed our evening routine, it’s totally stress free!!!!!"

The post quickly attracted more than 1,000 likes.


Laura Holloway wrote: "This I'm trying this tomorrow… Actually want to wake her up now and do it!"

Sarah Browne added: "Genius! I’m so opening a dentist surgery tomorrow evening."

While other mums revealed their top tips for getting little ones to clean their teeth.

Siobhàn Danielle Draper Etherington revealed: "This is genius. We’ve started Teethy Tickle Races where both boys have their teeth brushed at the same time and see who wins.

"We count them in, I brush one’s teeth, hubs does the other, when we’ve finished thoroughly brushing, we give them the tooth brush to do it themselves and who ever finishes first is the winner.

"Working great in a 4 year old and near 2 year old who would hide so we couldn’t brush their teeth previously."

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Collette Poore added: "We have a similar approach! I have to become the tooth brushing machine and have a funny voice!

"I say 'next please' and call her name. If she presses my nose that 'button' causes me to sing! It is always a bit embarrassing if someone is visiting but it has taken away the tooth brushing battle.’

Thea Panter wrote: "Kids love play! We also use teethy tales, when we ask each tooth what it has been up to that day! Stories always seem to divert attention from negative feelings."

Hannah, who plans to breastfeed Liberty "until she decides she is ready for our journey end", revealed she follows a "gentle parenting" approach, explaining: "It means we treat Liberty as an equal, talking about our emotions and including her in decisions when we can."

The mother-of-one works as a childminder at home, so she "gets to spend every day with Liberty watching her grow, which is amazing!"

She added that the family also follows a plant-based, vegan lifestyle "mainly for health reasons, but also for the environment and the animals".

The NHS advises parents to continue to brush their children’s teeth until the child is fully able to by themselves, usually around seven years old.

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