Encouraging Kids to Drink Water - Aviva Allen's Blog

Encouraging Kids to Drink Water

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Are you having a hard time getting your kids to drink water?  Some children love drinking water from the start, while others need a little extra encouragement to hydrate with water. 

If drinking more water is a new initiative for your family, try explaining to your kids about why you are making this change together.  b2ap3_thumbnail_20130603_132052.jpgSimply explain, in an age-appropriate way, how water is so important for our bodies and why it is a healthy choice to make every day.  Creating a water-friendly environment is also key, so make sure water is always accessible, whether your kids are indoor, outdoors or on the go.

Make drinking water a life-long habit for your kids by starting with these 5 tips:

1. Limit other beverages: Avoid pop and other sweetened beverages and limit milk/milk alternatives and fruit juice.  There is only so much liquid your child will be able to drink in a day and you want the focus to be on water.

2. How does your water taste? Children generally have more sensitive taste buds than adults and may not enjoy the taste of tap water.  I know I can certainly taste the difference.  If this is the case, you can try purchasing a water filter or having filtered or spring water delivered by companies such as Cedar Springs.  They are even available in glass jugs and can be used with or without a cooler dispenser.

Another option is to add fresh fruit to your water.  Slice up any combination of lemons, limes, oranges, cucumbers or fresh mint and place into a pitcher of water.  Frozen berries are also great in place of ice cubes.  This will enhance the taste of the water and also make it more appealing to drink with the addition of vibrant colours. 

3. Set an example: Have you ever noticed that you feel thirsty when you see someone else taking a sip of their water?  It's a great subtle reminder for them to take a drink, and great way to keep yourself hydrated at the same time.  So make sure to your kids see YOU drinking water (and not pop or alcoholic beverages) whenever possible.  Spoken reminders are important too, as long as it doesn't start to feel like nagging.

4. Travel with water: Take water with you on the go.  It is cost-effective and eco-friendly to carry a reusable water bottle, rather than purchasing bottled water.  I prefer insulated stainless steel bottles such as these bottles from S'well or Klean Kanteen as they will keep your water cool for up to 24 hours.  I  prefer drinking room temperature water and with this bottle, I can keep it in my car during the winter and it doesn't get too cold and in the summer it prevents my water from heating up.

5. Make it fun! Let your child choose the colour of their water bottle.  At home, try offering water in a glass with a straw as this can often help kids (and grown ups) drink more.  Try a reusable straw such as this one from Strawesome.  If your child needs some extra motivation, keep a chart on the fridge so that they can track how much water they drink.  You can have a reward system, or even start a water drinking contest for the competitive members of the family.

Aviva Allen is one of Toronto's leading Kids' Nutritionists specializing in helping parents deal with their picky eaters. Inspired by her two young boys' adventures in food, Aviva helps children and their families establish healthy eating habits through her nutritional counselling, offering consultations via phone or Skype. Aviva is also the founder of Healthy Moms Toronto, helping connect like-minded moms throughout the GTA.