Special Time helps with toothbrushing
author By Emilie Leeks,


Our youngest child (who was not quite 3 when this was written) does not come willingly to do his teeth! After lots of work in this area, using all the Hand in Hand Parenting tools, he'll usually now come and have them done, but very reluctantly, and you can only get a relatively short bit of brushing done before he starts to get bothered by it. This is big progress from before though, when he wouldn't come to the sink at all, and would clamp his mouth tight shut, or cry so so hard, whenever we showed him the toothbrush!

In his Special Time one day, he found some of the medical kit toys and the home roleplay toys we have lying around, and he decided he would use those (like the little mouth mirror, and the dolls' toothbrushes) to have a go at cleaning my teeth. I saw this as a good opportunity to have a bit of fun, if he seemed to want to go with that (and I know from past experience that he enjoys these sorts of games, so I thought I'd try it), so I clamped my mouth shut and muttered out of the corner that I didn't want my teeth cleaned, that I don't like having my teeth cleaned, that I was not going to let him! He smiled and giggled a bit, and told me that he was going to do it, and that I had to open my mouth just a little bit. I tossed and turned a bit, and said 'mm-mm' (meaning no), and he giggled some more. Then I just let him clean a little bit but got mock upset about it each time - which he thought was just great!

When I eventually let him clean my teeth 'properly' (with a nail brush!!), he said I wasn't to worry, he was going to do it very gently (which he did). Then when he next had to have his teeth cleaned that evening, he came to the sink quite happily and was not bothered at all by having his teeth brushed!

This kind of play is an example of the transformative Hand in Hand Parenting tool called Playlistening. Playlistening is such a brilliant way to get more fun, laughter and cooperation into parenting, and has completely changed our family life for the better - we aim to follow the child's laughter, and to let them take the more powerful role, and this helps them to work through any fears and frustrations they might be carrying. It also helps with building a strong connection between parent and child. Give it a try - you won't be disappointed!

A word or two about Journeys in Parenting: a blog about our experiences on the path of peaceful parenting…

We are a family of 5, living in Berkshire in the UK. I (Emilie) am married to the rather wonderful and (thank goodness!) supportive Stuart, and we have 3 young children, aged 9, 6, and 4. I decided to start this blog after a few enquiries from friends and acquaintances about what our parenting style is all about. I hope that writing about the peaks and pitfalls of our peaceful parenting journey will help others in a similar position - i.e. wanting to make changes to their parenting, but not quite sure where to start! It's very much an ongoing journey for us, and in no way do we claim to have all the answers, but we hope that reading about trying to support our children in a peaceful, responsive way that works for our family will perhaps inspire others to find their own path too.

And to all parents out there reading this: I hope this will be a mutually supportive resource. It is not intended to be a comment on any parenting style which is different from ours, rather it reflects what is working for our family and that which might be useful for others - the article I Am Not a Better Mother Than You says it better than I ever could! I fully welcome respectful comments and questions (e.g. in the vein of "I have found X works well for me" rather than "You shouldn't do it like that") - please try to avoid judgement of others when posting. I have no problem with my ideas being politely questioned, but if our overall parenting style is not for you, please do feel free to go and find other resources which are a better fit for you. Best of luck to everyone, as I know we are all doing the very best that we can for our children, no matter which paths we take!

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