Tackling toothbrushing: the full Creative Homes experience

by Creative Homes

For the past few months we’ve been running a Hub to Home programme at the Hook House Community Hub in West Norwood. For 10 weeks in summer we ran weekly group play sessions for local families with children under 5. After a short break we returned in September and October to focus on working with families directly in their homes.  Over the course of our time at Hook House we’ve met and played with 40 families and over 70 children, this is the story of one of those families and their Creative Homes experience.

I first met Abella* and her two youngest children Jabir (4 months) and Masud (4 years) when they dropped in to join one of our group play sessions.

Making treasure maps at the Creative Homes hub

Making treasure maps at the Creative Homes hub

The three of them joined us regularly and after a few sessions I arranged to to come to their house for a den building consultation. The consultation is a fun way to get to know a family in their home environment and identify areas of their daily life that are causing them stress. During the consultation we met the rest of the family including older sister Amara (5 years).

We got to know the family by building a den with them and completeing a questionnaire with M to identify where we might be able to help

Abella told us about how Masud refused to let her brush his teeth and would sometimes even make himself sick by gagging on the toothbrush. It had become one of the most stressful parts of her day and she was looking for a creative solution. So we arranged a visit from the Tooth Fairy.

The Tooth Fairy makes toothbrushing fun with songs, stories and your own magic toothbrush

Masud was excited to pick his own toothbrush and start using it!

Before he left the Tooth Fairy set the family a challenge to brush their teeth twice a day, every day for a week. If they managed it he would drop off a special reward. Inspired by the Tooth Fairy’s story and encouraged by the toothbrushing song they completed the challenge easily. Now, almost 3 months on Masud continues to enjoy toothbrushing time and even reminds his mum if she forgets. The change in Masud’s behaviour has made other parts of their daily life less stressful and Abella now feels better equipped to deal with difficult behaviour.


Masud has started school but Abella and Jabir continue to come to the playgroup at the Hook House Community Hub, which we helped kick start. Abella and her children also joined our group trip for their first visit to the Horniman Museum and went to their local children’s centre for the first time with us.


Treasure hunt and picnic at the Horniman Museum

Abella and her family now have better connections with their local services as well as creative solutions that have helped them reduce stress and establish healthy routines in a playful way.

 “Before it was really hard for me but after the Toothbrush Fairy, it’s changed everything.”
– Abella Hamed, mum of three.

The Tooth Fairy tells the story of where teeth come from and why it’s so important to keep them clean.

If you have concerns about tooth brushing and would like to learn more about how we can help, please get in touch.


*All names have been changed to protect the family’s privacy




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