Parenting Playbook: Are we there yet?

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Summer is finally here! We know all our kids are excited, but this season can be challenging for parents. Whether it’s keeping the family calm on a road trip or merely surviving two-and-a-half months of having your kids at home all day, we know that summer is sometimes stressful. In this week’s Parenting Playbook, we’ll share helpful information, tips, and strategies to make this the best summer yet!

Road Tripping

With the county’s COVID-19 numbers dropping to safer levels, we know that many families plan to hit the road for their summer vacations. These extended car rides are often filled with car games, movies, and snacks, and we want to help you stay healthy on the road. Luckily eating habits that are healthy for your smile are also beneficial for your body! The best snacks you can give your kids are apples, fresh veggies, and hard cheeses. Not only are these snacks healthy for your body, but they clean your teeth, too.

Another good habit for your road trip is staying hydrated. It might cause you to make a few extra restroom stops, but the benefits of drinking water are multifaceted. While the water keeps you hydrated through the summer heat, it also washes your mouth out.

As dentists, we don’t want to tell you not to have specific snacks, but we want to encourage you to be smart and informed about your snacking choices. Sugary candies and fruit snacks are fan-favorites and readily available at the gas station, but they don’t make healthy road trip snacks. The sugar encourages bacteria to grow in your mouth, and gummies will get stuck in your teeth.

Peanut butter crackers, Goldfish, and other snacks that are high in carbohydrates can also be tricky on long road trips. While they don’t contain sugar, they do get stuck in your teeth. If these are your snack of choice, we recommend drinking water while you eat to keep your smile clean!

Staying at Home

One of the summer’s biggest challenges is the drastic change in everyone’s schedules. Gone are the days of your child waking up for the bus. For nearly three months, they’ll sleep in as long as they can with the hopes of abandoning all forms of a schedule.

As their schedules dissipate, so do many of their hygiene habits. If you stay at home with your children, it can be easier to remind them to brush their teeth and floss, but this can be pretty challenging if you don’t stay at home during the day.

Many families set alarms on their Alexas and Google Homes to remind their children to brush their teeth in the morning. Other parents will have their kids text a picture of themselves brushing their teeth to confirm that they are taking care of their smile.

Whatever your method, we encourage you to stay on top of your kids’ dental hygiene habits this summer!