6 Ways to Get Your Kids to Drink More Water

a mum and kid drinking water
*Collaborative Post

Are your kids keeping hydrated? Especially during the hot summer months, when all they want to do is play outside, it is imperative for kids to get enough fluids so they can grow healthy and strong. We’ve compiled a list of a few tips for parents to help motivate their kids to reach for the water bottle, rather than for a sugary sports drink, or a carbonated and corn-syrup heavy soda pop. Water is the best drink for healthy young children, but that doesn’t mean that you have to stick with boring old H2O; with some creativity, you can ensure that staying hydrated is fun for the whole family.

Add natural flavors

Water is a blank slate–an empty palette, if you will, upon which you can imprint nearly anything you desire. Taking a few minutes to slice up some fruits, vegetables, or herbs, and adding them to your water can change the hydration experience from one of necessity to one of excitement. The most obvious pairings are things like lemons, limes, and oranges–a bit of citrus in the water adds some zest, flavor, and a dash of healthy vitamin C, among other minerals and nutrients. But you don’t have to stop with homemade lemonade–the sky is the limit, or perhaps I should say, the garden is.

Try slicing up fresh cucumbers, and adding them to a carafe of water to chill in the refrigerator. Cucumbers are crisp, light, and refreshing, and impart a very unique, cool flavor to water that many people love. Other popular items to toss in may include watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, mint leaves, fresh berries, or really, any fruit, vegetable, aromatic, or herb that you enjoy the taste of. Be creative, and mix up custom water bottles for each child, highlighting the flavors they enjoy most.

Use fun water bottles

If you are looking to make a day of it, you can help your children to design their own custom-flavored water and put it in a unique water bottle of their choosing. Each child could design their own water bottle, or apply unique stickers or paint to designate their bottle, and set it apart. Children love to take ownership of projects and tasks, so setting them up to design and create their own drinking vessel may help them to get more engaged with the idea of regular, healthy eating and drinking habits as a whole. Overall, try to make it a fun experience, where the kids get to utilize their own creativity without outside control or interference. If the activity ends with your kids being more willing to get the hydration that they need, then it’s a win for everyone.

Set a watering schedule

A fun way to ensure that your kids are drinking enough water is to set a routine to help remind them (and you!) when they should be reaching for that next glass. You can set up a calendar, and list the best “watering times” for all of the houseplants, garden crops, children, and pets of the home. It may seem a bit contrived and silly, but kids love structured activities like this, that they can easily understand, and implement in a daily way. If they can think of themselves as growing, just like their plants and pets, it may make them more receptive to nutritional guidance and healthy eating and drinking choices.

Offer water-rich foods

If you are concerned that your kids aren’t drinking enough water, you can supplement their fluid intake with water-rich foods. Fruits and vegetables, especially things like melons, cucumbers, and grapes, are all great sources of water. Too much fruit intake can lead to digestive problems, so make sure they are getting a balanced intake of all the essentials, including enough protein and fiber. Leafy green vegetables are also generally recommended, both as good sources of fluids, and because of all of the beneficial nutrients and vitamins they contain.

Lead by example

Kids do what they see mom and dad do, so make sure that you are keeping hydrated as well. Many adults don’t get enough water on a daily basis, so be sure that you are refilling your own water bottle. Teaching by example is one of the most enduring and effective forms of pedagogy. If it becomes a habit to reach for the water bottle in the morning, and if they see their parents and older siblings prioritizing their hydration, those habits will stick.

Make water accessible

Make sure that your kids have easy access to water when they need it. Personalized water bottles that they can refill themselves are one of the best strategies to employ, in order to make sure that your children always have water on hand. Keeping individual glasses in kids’ bathrooms might also be a good idea, as it will allow older children to get themselves water in the night when they need it, without waking you up. The more you can train and empower your kids to tend to their own hydration needs, the better off they will be.

Tap Water vs Filtered Water for Kids

Water quality is something that you need to consider as well, because not all water is the same. Water quality can differ dramatically from one region to another, and even within the same city or municipality, contaminants present in water may differ from year to year. You can get a good overview of what is in your water by Googling the most recent federally mandated city water quality report for your region. Depending on what you find, you may want to invest in a home water filtration system. Even though most US municipalities offer safe, potable drinking water, accidents happen, processes change, treatment plants age, and unexpected events occur. If you want an additional level of safety for you and your family, you may want to consider installing a home water filtration system.  Many companies selling water filters online also store a variety of home plumbing and filtration equipment, enough to meet any DIYer’s needs. Speak to a plumber or water care professional to find out what systems would be best given the contaminants in your specific water.

The Importance of Water for Kids

Without clean, reliable water, children are unable to develop into healthy, functional adults. Water is a baseline need for all living creatures, and human beings, just like all other animals and plants on this planet, require water for every stage of our cellular development and ongoing physical existence. This is one area where you simply do not want to cut corners–make sure that your children have access to clean, potable water, and that they are getting enough of it every day. Without water, all of our body’s systems begin to shut down, making the daily acquisition of clean water a matter of supreme importance.

The Bottom Line

Help your kids get the best start in life they can by avoiding sugary and processed drinks, and turning instead to our old friend, H2O. Developing a good relationship early on with water makes for better health, and maintaining adequate hydration is one of the best things you can do for yourself, as a living thing. Pass those skills on to your kids–they’ll thank you for it.

*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.

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