We all know that drinking more water is important to good health, but how do we get our children to be good water drinkers?
As delicious as pure water is, it can be hard to compete with all the juices and sodas. It makes sense, why drink plain water when there are so many sweet, sugary drinks out there?
One way is to only provide your child water to drink right from the start. Once old enough to stop drinking breast milk and formula you can only provide them water to drink. I also believe in giving my child organic cow’s milk once or twice a day, but there are many children who are lactose intolerant or parents who do not believe in giving their children cow’s milk. If children only know to drink milk and water then they don’t know any different, but that is not an easy accomplishment in today’s sugary drink filled world. When they see other kids drinking pop they naturally want some. And I see way too many young kids drinking pop. It really is an epidemic and is a big component to childhood obesity.
So what’s a parent to do?
You can try flavored water alternatives. This is where you fill a cup ¾ full of purified water and then add just a little flavoring. I have been known to do this with fruit juice and the sports drink, Performance, which is not loaded with sugar. You can also do this with other additives, just be sure to read the ingredients making sure it doesn’t have any added sugar or artificial ingredients. You certainly would not want to do this with any of the “energy” drinks out there that are loaded with stimulants. Even watered down, these drinks are not good for little, growing bodies and can be dangerous.
I would treat these occasional flavored drinks as special “treats" that the child can look forward to. The goal is to get the child to drink more water so be sure to offer plain water throughout the day in the same cup you gave them the flavored water in.
Make sure you are providing filtered water. Tap water and even bottled water contain too many contaminants that are not healthy and can make water taste bad. Real purified water has no taste and is very refreshing. So invest in a good water purifier.
Another way to encourage more drinking is to let them pick out some of their favorite cups. Look for ones with their favorite cartoon character, animal or colors. Just be sure to purchase cups that are BPA Free. Children will be more apt to drink from their favorite cups that they picked out themselves.
I also have water break times throughout the day. This is where every so often we stop what we’re doing and run to kitchen to have our water break. I try to make it fun and it is just part of our daily routine. If your children balk at stopping to take a drink, tell them they can’t go back to play till they take three drinks or however much you want them to drink. They soon learn it is just part of the routine and will eventually start doing it on their own without any prompting from you.
Make sure to take the water outside with you and your children, on car trips running errands, to the park, etc. Encourage them to take water breaks on regular intervals.
Another way we get our son to drink more water is we use a special water bottle that is the same one his daddy takes to work. When my husband comes home from work he often sits his water bottle on the counter. Our son would sneak it off the counter and start guzzling it down like he was stealing something only grownups drink. Occasionally there would be a little watered down pop in it, but more often it would be the watered down Performance sports drink my husband drinks to keep his body hydrated and energy up while working hard. It has a flip top that my son can open. He would guzzle it down and giggle as he knew he was getting away with something.
So I got my son a water bottle just like it and would tell him, “Daddy left his water bottle here, would you like to drink it?” And of course he would with enthusiasm.
Some would say that’s trickery, but I don’t think it’s harmful. I think it’s more like finding unique ways to encourage our children to make healthier choices. What are some ways you can think of to encourage your child to drink more?
Want to know the most important way to encourage our children to drink more water? To lead by example – let them see you drink more water. You know you need to drink more water and less pop, so show them you are making healthier choices and they will follow your example.
Down the hatch!
Want to know where to get the products mentioned in this article? You can learn more and order them here:
Performance Sports Drink – Used by winning Olympic athletes and even NASA astronauts!
Get Clean Water Purifiers - Certified to reduce many harmful contaminants that can turn up in your water and is made from food-safe, BPA-free plastic!
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