Staying well-hydrated is important for our physical and mental health and well-being, and that goes for our kiddies, too. Water helps with cognitive function, circulation, and so much more – given that approximately 60% of our bodies are made up of water, it’s no surprise that it plays such a vital role.
Drinking plenty of water every day is a healthy habit that parents should help their children to develop early on, supporting their health and development as they grow and learn. Unfortunately, not all children take to drinking water with ease, but there are some things you can do to make it more appealing to them.
1. Set an Example
As parents, it’s our job to model good behavior and healthy habits. As much as we wish our children would only focus on what we say and not what we do, it’s simply not always the case; kids take cues from adult behavior as they learn and grow.
There are lots of health benefits to drinking plenty of water, so drink up and enjoy the benefits as you model a positive attitude towards drinking water. In terms of making it fun, you can help to reinforce the positivity of drinking water by playing funny little games, like timing how long you can gurgle, or incorporating drinking water into games like Simon Says and Never Have I Ever.
2. Add Some Variety
Not everyone is a fan of plain drinking water, and when encouraging children to drink more of it, it can help to mix things up and make it more fun and varied for them. Ideas include:
Adding bubbles – Not everyone takes to the taste of carbonated water, but it’s a good option to try if your little one is turning their nose up to the plain option. If they like the bubbles, you can consider buying a Sodastream for the home.
Flavor-infused waters – Sometimes, all they need is a hint of flavor, and flavor-infused waters are a great option, providing some flavor without all the sugars and nasties that so many cordials contain.
Fun ice cubes – There is no shortage of fun ice tray options online, and your child may find it more fun to drink water if their favorite Disney character is bobbing about in it in the form of ice! You could also make ice cubes together with additions like fruit pieces, or a splash of their favorite fruit juice.
Adding fruit – Try fancying up your water by adding some whole fruits! Adding berries or other sliced fruits is a great way to make drinking water more interesting, as well as infusing it with some natural, healthy flavors. You can even get water bottles with built-in infusers to add the fruit to. Cucumber and mint is another option worth a try, or a squeeze of lemon juice – so healthy!
Fun bottles and straws – it might not even take fancying up the water itself to pique their interest. There are so many fun bottle and straw designs for kiddies to enjoy, and letting them pick out their favorite can encourage them to do it independently.
3. Serve Up Lots of Fruit and Veggies
If your kiddies just aren’t interested in drinking enough water no matter what you try, you can increase their overall intake by adding more water-dense fruits and vegetables into their daily diet. Watermelon, strawberries, and cucumber are just a few of the many options, and you can make this fun by creating meals together, cutting their food into fun shapes, and more.
4. Gamify it!
Gamification is a great option for making the dullest of activities more fun. When you gamify a task, you inject a sense of competition into it and offer rewards for high scores, etc.
To gamify drinking water, you could assign a certain number of points for each glass they drink, and give them rewards for reaching daily goals, etc.
It can also help to use a water tracking app to help keep score, as well as give your child the task of logging in their water intake, further reinforcing the positive action.
There are lots of water-drinking apps to choose from, but a couple that may appeal more to kids include:
- Plant Nanny: This free app is a cute option, in which your child can choose a seedling and watch it grow as they track their water intake. It doesn’t send reminders like other apps, but it’s a fun way to engage children and have them relate water intake to growing big and strong.
- Carbodroid: In this kiddie-friendly app, users can power up a sweet little robot character, and can send reminders when it’s time to drink some more water.
How much water do kids need?
Generally speaking, children between 4 and 8 years of age require approximately 5 cups of water daily; for 9 to 13-year-olds, females need around 7 cups, while for males, it’s nearer 8. From there, teenage girls and boys between the ages of 14 and 18 years old need to drink around 8 to 11 cups per day respectively.
These amounts will differ depending on the child’s age, weight, sex, and the environment and temperature they are in. Staying well-hydrated is vital for optimal health and development, so start early, model the right behavior, and make it fun!