Thanks to Orajel for sponsoring this post.
Toddlers thrive on routine but during the summer months all routine seems to go out the window.
There are some basic parts of your daily routine that you just can’t let slide though, like good oral hygiene, especially when the summer is filled with so many sweet treats. As an Orajel ambassador this year I love bringing you tips to help you enjoy all of life’s little ‘smilestones’ and making sure summer doesn’t derail your dental health routine is a huge part of that.
With twin toddlers at my house, I’ve found that keeping up with a basic daily routine helps our days go so much smoother and helps me make sure that all the basics are covered.
We’ve been having a very relaxed summer. After making an out of state move right on the heels of the school year ending, we’ve spent most of our time trying to get settled in our new home and recover from the stress of moving.
My twins have been taking full advantage of that and they are on a bit of an “anything goes” schedule at the moment. There have been a lot of ice cream bars on the front porch and running barefoot through the grass.
We try to stick to some basic daily routines though so we have some structure to our days. Even though my toddlers are not in school, I find it so helpful when school starts back up again and the rest of us are on a stricter routine, to have my toddlers used to at least maintaining the basics.
What do Toddlers Need in a Daily Routine?
When I look at what my toddler’s really need during the summer months, the list is short. I love that they have so much unscheduled time so they get plenty of playtime.
There are some basic things that need to be done every day though and establishing a routine for those things can give your toddler some predictability to his day.
Keep routines short and simple. If you have a long list of things that need to be done before bed, it’s going to be confusing for your toddler. Keep things short and simple. Our bedtime routine consists of: brush teeth, change diapers, read story.
My twins know what to expect. The routine is short enough that they can predict what is going to happen once we start brushing their teeth. If you need some tips for convincing your toddler to let you brush her teeth, we have some great ones here.
Decide what you are willing to let slide. When schedules get crazy, there are always things we let slide a bit. Decide what is non-negotiable for you. For us, it’s good dental hygiene and bedtime stories. Everything else can go when it needs to. Developing good dental hygiene habits is so important for toddlers.
Have you ever tried to make a toddler do something after letting it slide for a while? It never ends well.
I know that if I let good brushing habits slide a few times, it’s going to be so much harder to get my toddlers back on track. Orajel believes that “when brushing is fun it gets done” (check out their great dental hygiene tips for toddlers here). I love that they have toddler-sized toothbrushes with some of my twins’ favorite characters on them to make brushing fun.
Focus on the order of tasks rather than time. Time doesn’t mean a lot to toddlers anyway so, especially during the summer, I don’t worry about having breakfast at 8:00 and brushing teeth by 8:15, etc. I focus more on the order of things. If you always eat breakfast, brush teeth, then get dressed, your toddler will know what to expect as soon as breakfast is over.
Give visual cues. You can help your toddler remember the important things in their daily routine with visual cues. Brushing those little teeth are top priority for us so we work hard to create good habits early. During the summer months when there are so many sweet treats, we work especially hard to make sure we have good oral hygiene.
I created a very simple visual reminder for my twins so they remember to brush their teeth each morning and night.
All you need to make one is:
- A small wooden ornament (or a piece of cardboard)
- mod podge
- a photo of a toothbrush or of your child brushing her teeth
- a paintbrush or sponge
Use the mod podge to glue the picture to one side of the sign. Glue or write something as a visual cue on the other side.
Toddlers are very visual so they love having a simple reminder. Hang the sign on the bathroom door. When the side facing out shows the toothbrush your toddler will know it is time to brush her teeth.
Let your toddler turn the sign around to the other side when her teeth are brushed.
This gives toddlers a fun visual and tactile way to reinforce the habit of brushing their teeth. My toddlers love getting to turn the sign around. It’s like that satisfying feeling of checking something off your to-do list but on a toddler-level.
Summer is a great time to relax a bit and enjoy some down time with your kids. Following some basic routines can help you make sure you’ve got the essentials covered and make it easier to transition back into a routine when summer ends.