Works for Me Wednesday: Backwards Edition

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This week’s Works for Me Wednesday is a themed edition in which participants ask for creative solutions to their problems, rather than offering tips. I wracked my brain trying to come up with a problem that I have, since I have it so together and don’t really have any problems. *snort*

Okay, so for real, it didn’t take me long to come up with a dilemma with which I need help. It involves kids. And, toothpaste. Lots of blue toothpaste. And toothpaste caps.

I have kids who:

A) seem to have an aversion to replacing the caps on tubes of toothpaste. I think this may be the same genetic deficiency that causes their toilet-flushing-phobia.

B) spit blue toothpaste all over the sink and counter. I’m not really sure exactly what they’re brushing their teeth with. Toothpaste residue and water, I guess.

So, my question is: how to I get the kids to put the caps back on the toothpaste and not spit said toothpaste all over the bathroom?

Oh, and if your suggestion is: Say, repeatedly, Put the cap on the toothpaste. Rinse the sink out. Put the cap back on the toothpaste and rinse the sink out. For crying out loud! Put. the. cap. back. on. the. toothpaste. and. rinse. the. sink. out!!, just leave me a note letting me know that you stopped by because I’ve already tried that technique and it doesn’t work.

Be sure to visit Kristin at We Are THAT Family and see what other dilemmas might need your expertise this week.

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  1. We buy the toothpaste with the attached, hinged lid. As for spitting all over the sink, let me know when you find out how to stop that!

  2. Yeah, I’ve tried that. The hinged lid either never gets closed or snaps off before the tube is half empty.

    I swear, I’m starting to think it’s a purposeful assault on my sanity. πŸ˜‰

  3. So, I’m not a neurotic freak! Or at least not the only one πŸ˜‰ I posted this exact same question!

  4. Now this is easy for me to suggest because I have not actually tried it with my kids yet, but plan to once they are a little older. Have a rag or Clorox wipes close by the kid sink and make it a rule that they wipe up when done. If they fail to do it there is a consequence, like then having to clean the entire bathroom.

    I read something recently about teaching your kids to show consideration and starting with small things like leaving the bathroom nice for the next person. So maybe that is a battle worth fighting!

  5. It’s funny that you mention leaving the bathroom clean for the next person. That’s from the book “Say Good-bye to Whining.” We actually tried that for awhile and it worked…as long as I was consistent with reminding everyone.

    That’s just the reminder I needed to get back to that…and be consistent!


  6. Oh thank you, thank you. This is my personal private pain too-both the toothpaste terror and the flushing phobia. I will be watching with great interest. Truly, a clean toothpaste tube and sink, and a self flushing toilet are my secret fantasies. It’s kind of tragic.

  7. Ummm…is it bad that I just clean it up for them when they don’t? I have been trying to get them to do it more themselves though.

  8. I wish all the spit toothpaste made it into the sink!! The Clorox wipes wouldn’t work for me. They would play with them and either flood the toilet or try cleaning off the baby with them. Or just hide them all over the house making sure the bleach removed color from the carpet in a nice polka dot pattern. Nice….

  9. You can either do a reward system or a punishment system. πŸ™‚

    They get some kind of small reward every time they brush neatly (for my 4-year-old a penny works well).

    If that doesn’t work, you can make them clean up after themselves. Or take something small away from them.

  10. I think this is just one of those things that are meant to annoy mommies everywhere…seriously though if someone has a plan…let me know!

  11. We had this problem too. I also started making my kids responsible for their own bathroom. I also purchased cheap versions of clorox/lysol wipes and keep a canister in their bathroom. My son loves these and is always excited to grab one and wipe down the sink. Don’t ask me why…but it works for me. πŸ™‚ Good luck! Maybe try a post it note or a cutsie sign with a reminder to clean up after yourself.

  12. Kelly, I hear ya about the wipes clogging the toilet (I did mention their flushing phobia).

    And, Creek, I’m inclined to agree with you that this is just one of those things meant to annoy moms. πŸ˜‰

  13. Oh this is easy. You just make them clean it up themselveas and nag about it every single day. Then in about 10 years voila, clean sink!

  14. HA! I am seeing this same problem on several blogs. Too funny! Unfortunately I have the same problem, not the solution…

  15. I just have to say that I really think you need help with mouthwash rather than toothpaste right? LOL – I will think of that story everytime I see your name/blog I will think of that story!

    I am making chore charts for my daughter with pictures of what each area should look like when it’s done. May be you could take a picture of your sink nice and clean and leave something for them to clean it out with after each time, and a picture of the toothpaste nicely capped in it’s home.

  16. Others commented this too, but my kids LOVE wipes, so I but the offbrand clorox wipes and they love to wipe down the sink…but then again I have virgos. πŸ˜›

  17. I have 3 boys all who suffer the same phobia of toliet flushing…..
    as for the teeth I’m just grateful they do it now!

  18. The automatic toothpaste dispensers are almost sounding worth $60 to me. πŸ˜‰

    Now, taking a picture of what the bathroom should look like isn’t a bad idea. I’ve done that for the kids’ rooms before, so I’m not sure why I didn’t think of it.

    Thanks for all the tips!

  19. Have you tried the toothpaste in a pump? I find it to be less messy and it doesn’t matter if the cap is on or off or lost forever.

  20. I haven’t found the kind the kids use in a pump. The older kids would probably use whatever, but anything but Crest Kids burns Megan’s mouth. I’ve seen it in the stand-up tube, but that seems to be just as messy.

    Today, we had a discussion about keeping the bathroom neat for the next person. I decided to take the Clorox wipes out from their highly guarded hiding spot and I demonstrated their use.

    So far, so good.

  21. (This is the same advice I gave Holly)
    I would say leave it there until they get home from school & then make them clean it up. If it's messy again the next day, make the other child clean it up. Then have them clean it in the morning, so they can tell the difference in cleaning ease.

    Baby wipes for easy cleaning is very good idea!

    Plus maybe show them to ooze the paste into the bristles so it doesn't fall off. Life is not as easy as the commercial shows πŸ˜‰

  22. I haven’t tried this, but what about making them use baking soda to dip their brush in and brush their teeth with? The taste is so bad and gritty, they may just be willing to get their trusty blue tube back with rules attached?
    Good thing about the baking soda is that if they spit it all over the sink, when you clean it up it will clean it the “green” way!! It’s a win/win! Good luck!

  23. I know you posted this a while ago but I just stumbled upon it today and I can totally emphathize… I had a similar problem except mine wouldn't even rinse their brushes… so I threatened (mind you I never intended to follow through, but they didn't know that….) I threatened that I would use whatever toothbrush that was left full of toothpaste on the counter to clean to toilet with!! I had immediate 100% compliance!!

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