Do you struggle with how to get kids to drink more water? For obvious reason, most kids would choose juice or soda over plain water. While the most obvious way might to just never introduce anything apart from milk or water to your kids, the reality is, they’ll probably find out sooner, rather than later, about sweet drinks. In fact, 25% or one in every four kids doesn’t even drink water. As in, not at ALL. That’s pretty scary!
Why is it so important to figure out how to get kids to drink more water? Well, even mild dehydration, which affects nearly all kids over 6, can cause fatigue, mental fog, and trouble learning. It can also affect their mood and, during summer or when playing sports, kids can end up being a lot more dehydrated, which could give them cramps and headaches. When in doubt, get more water into them.
How do you get kids to chug that liquid? Here are a few ideas that work for us.
Make It a Game
Kids will do a lot if it’s under the guise of a game, so why not water? This is actually great for getting more water into yourself, too. Just set the alarm and yell, “WATER TIME!” every time it goes off and have everyone run to drink their water. It doesn’t have to be a lot.
Include Juicy Foods
Water doesn’t always have to be drunk straight up. Even liquids in your diet can count. For example, watermelon is full of water and soups are a good source of liquids, too. If your child drinks herbal teas, those can be counted toward the total intake, as well. You can also make smoothies and freeze them . . . the popsicles count, too.
Get Fun Water Bottles
Just having a unique water bottle can make drinking the liquid more appealing. There are plenty of options for kids, but metal water bottles are a good choice. They’re tough enough to hold up to being bashed around and they don’t leach icky chemicals into the water. Let your kids pick out the color they want and then make sure they always have a full bottle to sip from.
Add Some Flavor
Again, water can be pretty boring and while it’s important to learn to drink it, sometimes it’s nice to have a little flavor. This can be done in a few ways. The not-so-healthy way, which I sometimes use for myself, too, is to use juice packets, but only a tiny bit at a time. It’s just enough to flavor the water slightly. I personally use the Hawaiian Punch Singles to Go because one little packet can be used in three bottles of water if you spread it out enough.
Want a healthier option to those chemicals? Then try infusing some water with fresh fruit and veggies. Kids aren’t likely to enjoy cucumber as much as you and I, but they will probably love some water with orange slices in it or some strawberries and mint. Just a few pieces of fresh fruit can go a long way in a big jug of water. Just keep it in the fridge and strain the water before serving. Or, if you want to get fancy, you can get infusion pitchers that keep the fruit separate from the water while infusing the delicious flavor.
Water is kinda boring, you have to admit. Fortunately, you can spice things up by offering bubbly water. Kids love sparkling water and it’s a simple way to get them drinking more. The only issue is the cost, so some moms I know end up buying a machine to carbonate regular tap water. It’s super easy to use and makes drinking a lot more fun. If you’re trying to figure out how to get kids to drink more water and want to try this method, try the bottled sparkling water before making an investment . . . some kids don’t enjoy it.
Sticker charts aren’t just for potty training. Younger kids will love to earn some prizes like dollar store toys and such when they fulfill their daily quota of water drinking. It’s easy to make up a chart that they can fill with stickers each day. Older kids might not think stickers are cool, but they’ll still be up for the rewards for hitting their water goals.
Explain the Benefits
This won’t work for all kids, but my boys are all great at trying new things when they know how beneficial it is for the body. Take some time to learn about hydration with your kids and how it helps us stay healthy. Then make a point of looking at all the ways it helps their bodies and gives them more energy. For some kids, this will be more than enough to get them chugging away.
As moms, it’s important to learn how to get kids to drink more water. It’s one of the most important things we can teach our kids. Keep those kiddos hydrated this summer!