It can be a struggle for us as adults to drink as much water as we should. Even though it’s a fundamental part of our wellbeing, it’s still hard to swallow down your eighth glass of the day. It’s even harder to get our kids to drink water when we’re not so great at doing it ourselves.
You can’t reason with kids about all the health benefits, as it likely doesn’t matter to them yet. All you’re likely to hear from them is that water is boring and soft drink is yummy and fizzy. Luckily there are a few tricks that can help get your kids guzzling down that much-needed hydration.
Make it fun
Kids are visual creatures. They respond to colour and engage with what they find interesting. If your child doesn’t like drinking water because it’s dull and doesn’t ‘taste good’, try making it more appealing for them. You might discover they’re more than happy to drink water with a crazy straw or from their quirky drink bottle. Maybe they like fun-shaped ice cubes or are a fan of a pop of colour in what they’re drinking – whatever spikes their interest, use it to your advantage.
While it’s currently a huge phenomenon for adults across the globe, it’s also a great way to get kids on the bandwagon too. There are infused water products you can buy on the shelves of supermarkets that transform glasses of water into a colourful, delicious treat that also low on sugar.
However, while these are an easy, convenient way to make water more exciting for kids and are handy on the go, they aren’t exactly cost-effective. A simple alternative is to make your own infused water at home, using fresh fruit and a jug. Best of all, you can keep this delicious treat in the fridge for up to a week. Score.
Set an example
Kids love to copy what you do, and they are likely picking up on your habits. If they see you with a glass of water at every meal or carrying a bottle around, you may entice them to pick up this behaviour as their own.
If water is easy to access, we are more likely to have a sip here and there, and the same goes for kids.
Limit the options
While it’s not a foolproof option for older kids who have a little bit of freedom and some pocket money, limiting the drinkable options available to your kids is one way to get them to consume more water. If the fridge is stocked with soft drink, cordial and juice, kids will reach for the sugar-filled treat over trusty, old water. By limiting their choices and making sure the sugar-filled drinks are saved as a special treat only, your kids will automatically start to gravitate towards water as their default drink.
Part of being a parent is teaching your kids the necessary skills, behaviours and values for life, and drinking enough water is one of those. If you can find a way to get your kids to love drinking it now, they won’t have to struggle in the future to gulp down eight glasses a day like the rest of us.