"My tot won't let me brush her teeth."
Worth a battle?
It depends on your feelings about dental hygiene. I personally never brushed a single one of my kids' teeth, although I gave each child a soft brush and modeled the general idea. But I stopped short of forcing the issue or using timers, or even having them open wide so I could do all the work myself. Maybe I just got lucky, but I found that with enough praise and by emphasizing the fact that they got to gargle and spit (both fun), the job got done. Pediatric dentists, however, recommend twice-a-day brushing from infancy, and say you should lend a hand until at least age 5 or 6.
Tactics to try: Blame someone else.
That's how Suellen Durdaller navigates must-do situations with her daughter. "I tell Alysa, 'The dentist says you must brush your teeth.' This takes the pressure off me. I just state it as a fact and move on," says the Downingtown, PA, mom of three.
Sidestep the "no."
Being matter-of-fact can be useful, says Glasser. "Instead of making a request that requires a 'yes' or 'no,' try rewording it to pull the response you're looking for." Don't ask, "Ready to brush your teeth?" Instead, say, "It's toothbrushing time. Will this be a red-brush day or a yellow-brush day?"