The Extra Smile Back Project: What really makes your child smile?

The Extra Smile Back Project

When I ask myself the question, what really makes my children smile? The answer is pretty simple; my love and my time.

Pulling silly faces, reading stories and playing hide and seek remain the best and simplest ways of putting a smile on a child’s face, according to new research by Wrigley’s Extra®

rose crown 1

Wrigley’s extra have discovered the top five things that make children smile are:

  1. Playing outside: 36%
  2. Watching their fav TV programme: 34%
  3. Spending time with Mum/Dad: 33%
  4. Spending time with grandparents: 31%
  5. Playing with the family pet/funny jokes: 29%
I’m not surprised playing with a family pet is in the top 5!

I’m not surprised playing with a family pet is in the top 5!

We live in a world where technology is at our fingertips, literally, and it is easy to pop the kids in front of the TV or iPad to entertain them if we are a bit busy. Of course, my children enjoy these types of activities, but you will never see a bigger smile on their faces than when we are doing a simple (and usually free!) activity such as going to the park to play or reading a book.

The Lost Smile

I have always made sure I read with each of the children and although the older two can read on their own, we all make sure that Rose is read to at least once a day. It’s part of our routine and it is one of her favourite things. She absolutely loves it when Lewis or Holly read to her and beams up at them with the biggest smile, it’s so sweet!

As part of Wrigley’s latest campaign – The Extra Smile Back™ Project-, they have created The Lost Smile-a children’s story book created by Joseph Coelho a performance poet, children’s author, playwright and winner of the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education Poetry Award. The book is beautifully illustrated by Sheena Dempsey.

The Extra Smile Back Project

I really enjoyed the book and Rose was captivated by the pictures and story. The book is a reminder to us all that although life can get in the way it is so important to just pause and prioritise remembering to smile at those around us, in particular, our children because even though it seems like such a small thing, in a child’s eyes it is huge. It’s actually a very poignant read and a great message. The last page of the book contains some really useful information for parents providing tips on how to care for the whole family’s teeth.

The Extra Smile Back Project aims to protect children’s smiles by donating money from every pack of sugarfree gum sold to Action for Children, to create and run oral health care workshops, in partnership with the Oral Health Foundation. Extra aims to protect the smiles of 10,000 children across the UK.

As a qualified dental nurse, I can’t tell you how much it makes ME smile that Wrigley’s have committed to help educate parents and young people in good oral health. I also trained as an Oral Health Educator and have seen first hand that there is just not enough of the right information available enabling us to take preventative measures when it comes to protecting our smiles, especially those of our children. It is not easy assisting in an operation where a young child is having to undergo a general anaesthetic for tooth extractions which could be so easily prevented.

I would recommend following Wrigley’s ‘Eat, Drink, Chew’ advice for children over the age of 12 as part of their oral health routine and have always advocated this with my older children.

Julio Guijarro, Wrigley UK Marketing Director, says

“Wrigley is committed to educating families on the benefits of good oral health.  We have already been in this space for the past four years as a sponsor of National Smile Month, but this year we wanted to showcase our increased commitment to protecting smiles with a campaign that funds education at the heart of the community. Following our research revealing that traditional, back-to-basics play is so popular, it’s fantastic to be able encourage this kind of play with our book’.

The Lost Smile, part of The Extra Smile Back Project

The Extra Smile Back Project coincides with National Smile Month which runs from 16th May-16th June and is the UK’s largest and longest-running oral health campaign and is organised by the Oral Health Foundation.

For more details of the project and to purchase The Lost Smile visit

Do join me TODAY (25th May) between 1-2pm for a Twitter party with Tots100 and Wrigley’s Extra. Use the hashtag #SmileBack and tell us all about what you do to make your child smile!

You could win one of five £25.00 John Lewis vouchers!

*This is a sponsored post for Wrigley’s Extra® written on behalf of their Extra Smile Back™ Project that launches today

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  • Jo

    Written on 26th May 2016


    Lovely post, really cute pictures too! It’s pretty easy to make a child smile when you’re giving them love and attention.

  • Lizzie firstooth

    Written on 27th May 2016


    Your little girl is gorgeous! I’m a little deflated that we only sit at number 3, but I’m not surprised playing outdoors made number 1, that really does put a smile on everyones faces. This book sounds lovely, with a hidden meaning that I try to do regularly, pausing and appreciating the now, instead of rushing around with life. I feel sometimes that if we don’t take a moment and smile with our children, the moment will be missed and gone completely. Our kids make us smile just as much as we make them smile. What a lovely campaign to be a part of x

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