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I love Disney princesses. I can list their names: Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, Rapunzel and Merida. I can identify their outlook, dresses, and favorite pets. I know their stories and I have their DVDs in two (Mandarin/English) or trilingual (Cantonese/Mandarin/English) at home.

Overall, Disney princesses represent nobility, beauty, virtue, femininity, compassion, and grace. Individually, each one exemplifies her particular story, distinct personality, and unique talents and abilities. They appeal universally to girls all over the world regardless of differences in ethical and cultural backgrounds.

I love Disney princesses for another reason: they offer me parenting help.

Trilingual DVD: Snow White (Mandarin/Cantonese/English) Trilingual DVD: Sleeping Beauty (Mandarin/Cantonese/English)
Trilingual DVD: Snow White (Mandarin/Cantonese/English) Trilingual DVD: Sleeping Beauty (Mandarin/Cantonese/English)

DD used to resent teeth brushing. She ran to hide when I called “teeth brushing time.” She could think scores of ways to delay teeth brushing: “I need to eat/drink”, “I want to pee/poo/read”, “I am hurt in head/finger/stomach/feet”, “I need to find teddy bear/shoes/sock/blanket” and etc. I was so familiar with her various tricks that I always knew how to reply no matter what: “go for it and come back in 10 minutes and brush your teeth.”

Whenever she had no choice but to brush her teeth, she would finish it quickly. To prevent her from getting by, I had to sit beside her and watch her.

Now I have a better way. I asked DD “These princesses are so pretty, aren’t they?”

“Yes!” said DD.

“See, none of these princesses has yellow teeth, black teeth, or broken teeth. Their smile is so charming. ” I continued.

“Why?” said DD.

“Good question!” I struck the iron when it was hot, “because they brush their teeth. And they brush very carefully.”

“Why?” again from DD.

“If they don’t brush their teeth or brush them badly, the little particles of the food will fall into between the teeth. You know what? That is the best food for bacterial! When more and more bacterial grow, they want to build home and settle down. And your teeth are the best place for them to build houses. And then your teeth will look yellow, black or broken.” I used all my limited knowledge about oral hygiene.

“Is it painful?” DD hesitated.

“Yes, it can be.” I didn’t want to scare her, but it was a fact.

DD didn’t say anything.

“So, if you want to have the same charming smile like Disney princesses, you’d better brush teeth carefully. It is good for you.” That concluded our conversation.

Trilingual DVD: Cinderella (Mandarin/Cantonese/English) Bilingual Movie: Aladdin (Chinese/English)
Trilingual DVD: Cinderella (Mandarin/Cantonese/English) Bilingual Movie: Aladdin (Chinese/English)

Of course, this kind of conversation occurred multiple times whenever I seized an opportunity. Little by little, I noticed changes on DD. She began to come straight to me when I called for “teeth-brushing time.” She didn’t need my supervision any longer since she brushed teeth longer and more thoroughly. She showed me a big smile after each brushing and asked me “is my smile pretty?”

“Of course”, I smiled.

I got similar help from Disney princesses when I wanted to cut down her TV time. It made perfect sense since none of the princesses wear glasses, so they definitely didn’t watch much TV.

I am quite sure every parent has his/her own smart way to teacher children dos and don’ts. So would you like to share your tip on how you parent your children on teeth brushing?

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