Getting kids to drink water can be hard, but here are a few tips you can use to help them meet their daily needs:
Drinking water has many health benefits. Water helps to flush toxins from your body and prevent dehydration. Dehydration can cause headaches, tiredness and lack of focus. These symptoms make it harder for them to perform their best.
Don't wait for your kids to tell you they're thirsty before offering them water, experts say. Instead, offer them water and other hydrating foods and beverages throughout the day, particularly in the summer when more liquids are needed to stay healthy.
Encourage your child to drink water in the morning and regularly during the day, especially at mealtime. Many fruits and vegetables contain water, so include them as a regular part of their diet.
Set the example! Let your child see you drink water so they are encouraged to do the same. Keep in mind the amount of water your child needs depends on age, weight, gender and whether or not they play sports.
Talk to his or her doctor to determine how much water your child should drink every day. “I use a rule of thumb of 2 to 3 ounces per day per pound of body weight, to a maximum of 8 to 10 cups per day,” said Dr. Karl W. Holtzer, a pediatrician with the Pediatric Alliance Fox Chapel Division in Pittsburgh. In email to Reuters Health, he noted that water is not needed for infants under 6 months of age, and babies under 1 year can stay hydrated with breast milk or formula.
Parents can ensure that their kids get their recommended intake of fluids with these seven tips:
1. It doesn’t have to be water – many fruits and vegetables have a very high water content. Offer watermelon, strawberries, broccoli, celery, cucumbers and other watery fruits and veggies for snacks. Chaparro recommends five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
2. Make sipping fun. Let your kids pick out their own drinking cups or travel bottles in their favorite colors or decorated with their favorite characters. Buy a set of crazy straws. Invest in ice cube trays that make ice in fun shapes.
3. If kids balk at drinking “boring” water, give it some flavor and color. Freeze berries or cranberries into ice cubes, or infuse water with fresh fruit, herbs or vegetables such as lemon, mint, watermelon or orange. Even adding unflavored soda to water makes it more of a treat – “bubbles without the calories,” says Chaparro. She also suggests using sugar-free drink mixes.
4. Make your own popsicles for a fluid-rich treat. Puree fruit or use no-sugar-added fruit juice and pour into Freezer Molds.
5. Make sure water is easily accessible for little ones. If they can’t reach the sink or the water tap in your refrigerator, set up an easy-to-use water dispenser and a few cups in a place where they can reach it.
6. Be prepared. Invest in an assortment of reusable travel bottles and keep them filled and in the fridge so you can grab them any time you head out for a walk, bike ride or car trip.
7. Create a reminder system for drinking water. This could be a chart on the refrigerator that kids can mark each time they have a serving of water, or, if you’re out and about, a timer set on your phone to remind the family that it’s time to take a drink.