Getting children to drink more water exposes the fact that 1 in 5 children are not drinking any water. Though this doesn’t mean they don’t drink water on other days. Regrettably, not drinking water contributes to child obesity, affects performance in school. And may trigger other unhealthy habits.
Pediatricians agree children should be drinking water every day because water is the healthiest beverage. Also, water consumption is a major part of keeping healthy, remaining hydrated, and managing a healthy weight. Undoubtedly, there are health risks when children don’t drink enough water. Even so, getting children to drink more water is a challenge for many parents.
Why Children Don’t Drink Enough Water?
While some children love drinking water, others don’t care much for it. Some children don’t like how it tastes. Others don’t know the importance of drinking water or the impact of water versus sugary drinks on the body. For example, there’s the possibility that children who don’t drink water consume twice as many calories as children that drink water. In other words, they end up drinking more than 10% of their daily calories from sugary drinks.
There is also the problem of water quality. Normally it should be easy to get a drink of water from a safe source. But that’s not always the case.
Another big challenge is the lack of easy access to quality safe water at schools, holiday camps, daycares, and preschools.
Overall, the recommendation is that water should be the first beverage offered to children. And the general rule is that your child should drink at least 6 to 8 (eight-ounce) cups of water a day. This is because if they’re drinking water, they get hydration from that instead of unhealthy sources.
10 Ways To Get Your Child To Drink More Water
The major question is what should you do if your child finds it difficult, or refuse, to drink water? This article shares 10 creative ways to make your child drink more water.
Make water the only option
The first thing to do is to make water readily available. If water is the only drink available, chances are that kids will drink or ask for it. Keep water in the fridge for thirsty children. Offer plain water, in a bottle or cup, with every meal. Remove sugary drinks from your home and see if it makes a difference. In addition, choose water instead of other beverages when eating out. By and large, you will save money and also reduce calories.
Dilute fruit juice with water
If you’re buying fruit juice, pour into a pitcher and dilute with an equal amount of water. You can also fill your child’s glass half with fruit juice and the rest with water. You will see that double diluted juice satisfies your children’s thirst and goes farther for less. Also, you’re reducing the amount of sugar, since fruit juices contain some amount of natural or artificial sweetener.
Use juice or fruit ice cubes to cool water
Another creative suggestion is to freeze juice (undiluted) or fruit pieces in your ice cube trays. A frozen juice or fruit cube is cooling and healthier. You can also infuse your water with flavour by adding fruits like berries, apples, pineapple, cucumbers, lemons and limes.
When you drink, offer your child
Whenever you get a drink for yourself, offer your child or a bottle to an infant. By the time you’re thirsty though, you’re already dehydrated. So drink water every waking hour to anticipate thirst, especially when it is hot. And remember to offer your children water every time you take water.
Take a cue from your older child
You should be aware of how much fluid your children drink especially during the hot months. Your five-year-old daughter can tell you when she is thirsty. But your 1-year-old-child may not. Therefore, whenever your five-year-old desires a drink, give some liquids to your 1-year-old-child.
Give your child a water bottle or cup
Buy tiny water bottles (4 or 8 ounces) that are easy for kids to hold and drink. Teach and encourage them to use the water dispenser on the fridge to fill their cup. Carry a water bottle and keep one for your child in the car. Likewise, put one in their backpack, take it on trips, and put in your refrigerator at home.
Display a jug of water infused with fruits
Adding pieces of fruits into a jug of water instantly creates an excellent burst of colour and fruity flavours without added sugar. Placing this jug at the center of the dining table becomes a visual reminder to drink water.
Make water a habit
The best way to get your kids drinking more water is to make it a family practice early on, preferably from their infancy. Make water consumption a fun part of family mealtime, recreation, and physical activities.
Build water into the entire day
Place a cup of water by your children’s bed so they can drink before they fall asleep and when they wake up. Have a cup waiting for them in the morning when they come into the kitchen and at every meal. And ensure everyone has a cup or bottle all day around the house and when you head out.
Be a good role model
Last but not least, be a role model. The more your children see you display healthy habits, the more likely they are to do the same. Children copy behaviour. So make it a habit to drink water regularly to quench your thirst. And since children are influenced by what grown-ups around them drink, make water the first choice of beverage in your home.
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