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10 tips to encourage your kids to drink more water

May 04, 2012

Why is it so difficult to get kids to drink a glass of ice water, but they’ll gladly gulp a gallon of murky, mystery water from the bathtub?

It’s one of those age-old parenting dilemmas, I guess.

While we may have heard it a million times over, and it may seem ridiculously simple, it is still one of the cornerstones of a healthy life: Drink more water.

And as we help our kids navigate childhood and prepare them to make their own decisions as adults, few health habits will carry as much impact as this one.

Water is a necessary component for all vital functions of the body. Although other liquids such as juice or soda may quench our thirst, the excess sugar and empty calories can also add excess pounds. Drinking water also contributes to healthy teeth: sugar in other beverages can lead to cavities, but fluoride in tap water helps prevent dental decay.

Yet, getting our kids to drink water is certainly easier said than done; they are surrounded by the teasing temptation of soda, juice, and sports and energy drinks. So how do we help them develop the healthy habit of choosing water instead of other drinks, not just today but as they progress into adulthood?

I wish there were a simple, one-size-fits-all answer to that. I don’t think there’s any magic to it.

But, here are a few suggestions I’ve found that might make it a little easier:

  •  Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator; most people prefer to drink cold water
  •  Let them pick out their own colorful, fun water bottle or thermos, and reserve it only for use with water
  •  When your child leaves the house, send a bottle of water with them
  •  Set a good example and drink water yourself instead of soda or juice
  •  Add a squeeze of lemon or a sprig of mint to their water
  •  Try adding orange slices or a few frozen cherries for extra flavor
  •  Create yummy ice cubes by freezing juice in ice cube trays and add them to water
  •  Use fun straws
  •  Give them some reusable plastic ice cubes in fun shapes or colors
  •  Try seltzer water (for some fizz!) and add a squeeze of lemon or lime
Like anything else in parenting (or life, for that matter), what’s easiest isn’t usually what’s best. So although it often feels like a lost cause, keep encouraging your kids to drink more water. And keep in mind, milk and water are the only two beverages that a body needs to be healthy. Everything else is an extra treat.

Do you have any helpful tips? What works to get your kids to drink more water?