Dental care and sensory processing - a patient's story
14th April 2020
Fortunately, most children feel comfortable about going to the dentist. With modern dentistry focusing on preventive care and a good… read more
There’s so much happening in our lives right now that we hadn’t planned for. With many of us working from home, school cancelled and uncertainty, we have to wonder what the future holds. In the end we’ll all get though this together with a “Keep Calm and Keep to Ourselves” spirit but while families are trying to readjust to new daily patterns, there’s one piece of the puzzle I want to help put in place. To help learning for stay home children, I’ve put together a few ideas to help keep everyone’s teeth, minds and bodies in good shape.
I know you’ll already feel bombarded with online advice, targetted at parents, about the importance of establishing routines. It’ll take a little while to settle into this change none of us had been expecting. But it really is true that a good routine helps everyone in the household achieve. Moreover, schoolchildren are used to both a timetable and clearly articulated boundaries – so use that to your advantage. If you can, make a clear distinction between work time and family time to help keep everyone sane during these challenging times. It could help reduce your chance of getting TMD.
Brushing teeth should mark the start and the end of a child’s day. It’s best if they brush teeth before breakfast, as we should leave half an hour between eating and brushing our teeth to reduce enamel erosion. So brushing first thing in the morning is a good idea. And before we go to sleep, brush with a fluoride paste to disturb bacteria and protect teeth overnight. It’s the longest time fluoride has, uninterrupted by food or drink, to strengthen our teeth.
The trouble with being at home, whether you’re a kid, or an adult, is the temptation to snack between meals. Planned, healthy meals help prevent damage to teeth (and general health too). Work out a rota of daily menus (just like school!) and do prep in batches to save time each day. Try to get the whole family involved in planning and making food too, because there’s going to be a lot more work in the kitchen with the whole family home 24/7.
We want children to keep their teeth healthy for life. And we want children to keep on learning too. Most learning is about interaction, and that’s what stay home children will be missing. We learn from others. So it’s important to spend time talking. And the more you talk about how precious their teeth are with them, the more likely they are to look after them. Talking about preventive care and making healthy choices can be a good place to start.
“Lessons worth sharing!” They even come with review questions and deeper thinking suggestions. Here are some great videos to inspire the kids to keep their teeth clean, as well as learn some interesting facts. Once you’ve done these, there are plenty more interesting lessons too.
Note: Because of their memorable visuals, it’s always important to check video material is appropriate. Children react differently, and sometimes unexpectedly. These cartoons include images of cavities and teeth being pulled out, for example, that might be worrying for some children.
There truly is something for everyone on this website. Whether it’s fun activities on an app for early learners, a course for children to learn coding, or electrical engineering, Khan Academy has it covered.
Note: While parental supervision is essential to ensure children are safe online, it’s fun to share the learning experience anyway. Once your child is engaged, s/he will become a more independent learner, leaving the adults with time to get on with their own work.
It’s very likely your children’s school will already have shared this link with you. Earlier we were talking about routine, well this is a great way to get energized every morning, Monday through to Friday, at 9.00, if you want to follow the programme live. As it’s on Joe’s YouTube channel later anyway, you can set a time that suits you, if you prefer.
Note: As there should be an adult supervising the children doing this, why not just join in anyway? If space is a bit constricted and your child knocks out a tooth on a nearby table, we even have advice for that. Hope you won’t need it!
I hope some of these tips will be helpful to you. With thirty years experience as a teacher and educational leader, both in the UK and overseas, I understand well the challenges and rewards of working with young people.
So have fun with your children, help them to be curious, and then the learning will follow. If you have any questions, please ask!
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