Water is nature’s perfect beverage. It’s what our bodies need more than anything else out there! We all know that it’s important to drink enough water, but it’s tempting to reach for juice and soda instead. Sadly, many of us fall way short of drinking the recommended 8 cups per day, and this is especially true for our kids. Being dehydrated can cause headaches, lack of energy, skin issues, and other health problems. Most of us are probably walking around dehydrated and don’t even know it! It’s hard enough to remember to drink enough ourselves at times, so how do we get our kids to drink enough water? Here are 7 sneaky tricks to get your kids to drink more water, even if they tend to prefer juice and Kool-Aid instead.
Set a Good Example
We model the habits our kids will copy the most – both good and bad ones – so make drinking water a habit for yourself and hopefully they will follow suit. If they see you drinking lots of water, they are more likely to want to drink it, too. Ordering water at a restaurant is also a great way to model this behavior, too!
Offer Fun Cups
Choose fun, colorful cups to drink from. Every kid likes a fun cup, whether it’s their favorite color, has a TV character on it, or even the logo for a favorite sports team. Let your child choose a reusable water bottle from the store and encourage them to refill it with water throughout the day.
Give Them Control
Provide unlimited access to water and let the kids have control of their intake. This could be providing a fridge stocked with water bottles, or showing them how to use the drink dispenser on the door of the refrigerator. Telling the kids that they can get as much water as they want during the day is a license for them to keep drinking, especially if you hide the juice boxes!
Keep Water Handy
Make it a habit to always keep water on hand. Always offer water to your kids instead of other beverages at sporting events, picnics, and when traveling. If you pack sugary sports drinks, they’re most likely going to pick that every time. Instead, offer ice-cold water and show them it’s what their body needs most to rehydrate.
Offer colorful silly straws, or ice cubes in fun shapes to put in their water. Add a little food coloring to the ice cubes or to the water itself for a fun twist they aren’t expecting. This might entice your kids to consume a little more H2O. You could also offer some fun ingredients to add to water so the kids can experiment with flavors and colors. Try lemon wedges, orange wedges, apple slices, or even cucumbers. Let the kids drop in a few berries or squeeze some fresh lime in their water bottle. The new flavor combinations will become a silly game and soon your kitchen will become a science lab full of fun water concoctions!
Make It a Competition
Make a chart for every member of the family with a spot for 8 cups of water per day. See who can finish their 8 cups first – and the winner gets a treat. Sometimes all it takes is a little healthy competition to get the kids on board with any kind of new healthy habit.
Give Them a Reason
Show them WHY they need water. Give them a plant to take care of and show them what happens when it doesn’t get enough water. The leaves wilt, it looks unhealthy, and starts to dry out. This is what happens when we don’t drink enough water – we start to wilt, too! Kids are a lot smarter than we give them credit for so don’t miss an opportunity for a science lesson as you explain the benefits of water.
These are just a few of the ways to help your kids start drinking more water. The truth is, the more they drink water, the more they will want water. As with introducing any new food habit, it may take some time before they start to prefer water over the usual fruit juices. Keep offering it – and soon they will be reaching for it without you having to ask.
Do you have any special tricks to get your kids to drink more water?