As a parent, routines provide much-needed certainty about how different parts of the day are going to look for your family. Routine helps you pre-make decisions, which frees your mind for other important decisions you need to make throughout the day.
For your kids, routine has endless benefits too. Having a schedule helps children feel more confident in knowing what comes next, which provides them with some comfort and security.
It also helps them feel more comfortable when there’s familiarity in their day to day.
That’s where the 3 B’s come in: brush, book, and bed. The 3 B’s were created by the American Association of Paramedics to help care providers — including medical professionals — help spread the word about a bedtime routine that has multiple benefits, including improvements in dental hygiene and literacy levels.
With the 3 B’s, you’ll kick things off with a fun dental routine to help ensure your child learns the best hygiene methods to keep their teeth clean. Next, you’ll get cozy and wind down with a book. And when they’re nice and sleepy, it’s off to a restful night’s sleep in bed.
These 3 simple steps to a nightly routine can help provide your child with a comforting sense of consistency before sleep, while ensuring your kiddo has clean and heathy teeth.
While helping establish a nightly routine is a huge perk of the 3 B’s, it certainly isn’t the only one. Read on to find out more ways sticking to the 3 B’s are the perfect formula for your evening routine!
The 3 B’s
Flexibility aside, some things shouldn’t be overlooked in a routine. For example, your child’s hygiene should be a top priority — especially dental hygiene.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a great way to go about a nightly dental routine is to stick to the 3 B’s. These steps are recommended for children age 6 months all the way to 6 years old.
The 3 B’s Support Your Child’s Oral Health
From infancy on, dental hygiene should be a daily priority for you and your children. It’s important to clean your infant’s gums after every feeding, to help eliminate bacteria build-up and prevent gum disease.
And once your kids’ teeth start to erupt, they should brush twice a day (with your help as needed), for two minutes a day, and floss once. Around this same time is when you should begin taking your child to see a kids dentist, about every 6 months.
Without brushing and flossing regularly, leftover food can lead to a buildup of bacteria on your child’s teeth. This bacteria can then can harden into plaque. And when left untreated, plaque can cause your child’s teeth to decay.
Tooth decay can cause your child to lose their teeth early. And early tooth loss can lead to tooth crowding, as the teeth are prevented from growing in the places they were intended. These crowded teeth could one day require braces and other orthodontic treatments.
Any tooth that isn’t lost but still has decay may need expensive treatment, like a crown or filling.
The 3 B’s Encourage Early Literacy
Studies show that reading aloud to your children is one of the main ways to support the development of optimal language skills at an early age.
Hearing you read helps children grasp the rhythm of language, which they begin to imitate themselves.
Even as toddlers, reading to your children is beneficial. Reading to toddlers helps lay the foundation for strong language skills, as they learn a few crucial things:
- New words
- Tonal changes and the moods that they indicate
- That the shape of letters form words that can be read
What seems like a simple 15 minutes of reading is actually a very important step in their learning and development.
The 3 B’s Help Establish a Regular Bedtime
As a parent, you’ve probably already gathered that making sure your kids consistently get to bed at a decent hour can make or break the next day’s routine.
By using the 3 B’s, you can help your child ease into bedtime comfortably. They’ll still know bedtime is near, but they’ll have a few transitional tasks to help them ease into it.
A regularly scheduled bedtime doesn’t only help children fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up ready for the day. It also sets them on a path toward having a healthy sleep schedule in the future.
Remember to be patient with yourself and your child as you establish your new routine. Habits take time. But once you have it down, you’ll find it’s a part of the day you’ll both look forward to!
And while it’s important to have a routine, remember to not expect it to go perfectly every day. Finding a middle ground is key.
Perhaps during shelter-in-place, you let your kids sleep in a bit more, or maybe you need to sneak in some extra playtime after lunch if they’re extra fidgety. Flexibility is key!