Does it ever feel like getting your kids to drink water is like pulling teeth? No matter how hard you try, they have no interest in hydrating the healthy way.
You’re not alone. Most well-intended parents are navigating a hectic lifestyle — from simply trying to keep their children alive to non-stop days where the fast-food drive-through is the easiest way to feed (and hydrate) their family.
Unfortunately, many children turn water down, especially after being introduced to much tastier but unhealthy options, like chocolate milk and juice. Parents often let their kids have unhealthy drinks to help them stay hydrated. Although this situation seems like a catch 22, there is a way out.
We all know daily hydration is important. But the CDC says drinking water is essential to staying healthy because it manages weight and prevents dehydration. By contrast, sugary drinks can prevent your body from absorbing water.
So how do you get your kids drinking water while teaching them about the importance of maintaining a healthy, hydrated body? Here are a few creative tips you can start implementing into your daily regime now.
Encourage Kids to Drink Water Through Habits
How much water should children drink? Typically, 4 cups a day for years 1-3, 5 for years 4-8, and 7-8 cups for older children. Check their urine to ensure a pale, yellow color indicative of hydration.
Humans are creatures of habit, and kids are no different. Once a routine burns into their brains, your kids will never fail to grab a glass of water at the first crack of dawn. To build these habits, consistently reinforce them verbally.
Rewarding children is a great motivator to do tasks.
Give a clear, simple list of things you’d like them to accomplish. This list should include drinking water at certain times throughout the day. Show them that you’re proud of their efforts — even if that means a quick hug or congratulatory high-five.
Wean Kids off Sugar
What many parents don’t realize is that those fruit juices or lemonades are full of sugar. And sugar can affect your child’s mood and hyperactivity levels. How? When too much sugar is in their body, their blood sugar goes up and down all day long. Instead, replace those sugary drinks with much healthier options.
Make it clear to your kids that the goal is to get them to drink more water. Then, wean them off sugary drinks by replacing soda and Gatorade with Hapi drinks. From here, keep reducing the number of healthy sweet drinks till they only make up a small percentage of their total fluid intake.
Lead By Example
After a long, hard day, it’s easy to want to relax with a tasty drink. But one of the best ways to help your children establish healthy hydration habits is by consistently drinking water when around them.
If you down three sodas a day, your kids will notice. Make sacrifices for their long-term health. If you remove all unhealthy drinks from your house, you’ll limit your kid’s options. After a few weeks, both of you will find healthy beverages normal. Another benefit? You may be able to take your belt in a notch or two.
Use Healthy Flavoring
Use fruits and vegetables to add flavor. Both are primarily composed of H20 and provide crucial nutrients. Citrus fruits add some of the strongest bang per pound. And strawberries, melons, and cucumbers all have high water content.
A great summer treat is to put frozen fruit in your glass instead of ice. Or, to make it a little more fun for kids, try freezing ice cube trays with berries. Let them help you prepare the trays so that the frozen berry cubes are that much more exciting.
Want to step it up a notch? Try fun ice cube trays that come in various shapes (Star Wars ice cubes, anyone?).
Get a Water Bottle
Kids love to feel special, and they love ownership. Combine these passions by buying your children their water bottles. Make this process fun. Take them to the store so that they can pick out a water bottle with their favorite shapes and colors.
Then, make sure that you only fill this water bottle with water. You want your children to associate the fun bottle with a drink of water. An extra tip: keep this water bottle in reaching distance, so your child always has access to it.
By consistently practicing these healthy hydration habits, your kids will be asking for water in no time.
Tolleson Health Advisors provide you with crucial health advice that will transform your life. Contact us today so we can schedule a professional to study your needs.
1. Reinforce water drinking verbally and by rewarding consistency.
2. Substitute sugary drinks with healthy alternatives and water.
3. Visually instruct by rejecting sugar drinks.
4. Make frozen fruit chunks for flavor and to replace ice.
5. Find a water bottle that your kid enjoys carrying.