With the warmer weather upon us, water intake has never been more important - especially for our little ones. While kids love jumping around in puddles and splashing around in the pool, getting them to actually drink some water can be a whole other battle! The benefits of good hydration are indisputable: Drinking water can clear skin, improve cognitive health, aid digestion and regulate body temperature—what isn’t to love!
Good hydration for your kids starts with you, so it’s important to have a good idea of why we need to keep that water bottle handy (even when we’re not thirsty!). Instilling healthy water habits in your kids will help improve your family’s health and wellbeing in the long run.
But we all know kids can be fussy, so it is often easier said than done to get them on the H20 train. From turning hydration into a game, good levels of encouragement and some creative flavour flair, you’ll soon turn hydration from an impossible feat into a fun family affair!
Encouraging water intake for kids
Water in a glass—Refreshing? Yes. Exciting? No. Water in a bright and colourful cup with a silly straw? Now that’s way more fun!
And we all know when something is fun, the kids are always on board! So make water look appealing by using reusable cups in their favourite colours. Look for novelty ice trays with fun little shapes, like fish or seashells to keep with the water theme, so they can watch the ice melt. Or pop a reusable curly-wurly straw in their cup, so they can see the water swirling around. And for the adults, adding a mini umbrella or drink sticks will add a little razzle-dazzle.
Fun drinks need some flavour. Adding a splash of colour with slices of orange, lemon or berries can increase hydration while providing a yummy burst of citrus-y goodness. That way, kids can get their daily serving of vitamins and minerals and H20 all in one go!
You can also add hydration to their nighttime routine. Turn story time into drinking time! Find a cosy place to sit and read a book with your toddler as they drink water from their favourite cup, turning hydration into a fun learning experience as they quietly sit and listen.
Create your own hydration hub
So you’ve got their quick drinks sorted, but what about prepping a whole jug of it? There’s no better place to refuel throughout the day than at your very own hydration station!
By setting up a hydration hub in your kitchen, you make water more easily accessible and a part of your daily routine, while encouraging kids to monitor their own intake. You also carve out a communal place in the home where everyone can sit and catch up with one another.
Install a cute and colourful water dispenser and add your infused water with delicious slices of apple, lemon, cucumber, orange or kiwifruit for a good dose of vitamin C. Blend some fruit smoothies or make frozen fruit slices for a tasty snack. Kids are also more likely to drink from a brightly coloured cup or bottle, so have them pick out their own to keep in a special place.
Fun hydration challenges
Let’s face it, most of us adults probably don’t drink enough water. So why not turn hydration into a family initiative?
Stick a weekly water chart up on the fridge to keep tabs on your family’s progress. Devise a set of water goals on a whiteboard and offer little rewards like gold stars, stationary or other trinkets. Encourage kids to drink a certain amount of water each day by drawing a line on their water bottle. Or make it a competition to see which member of the family finishes their water first: Whoever wins gets to pick the movie for Movie Night!
Sip smart at mealtimes
Kids often learn by copying others: If they see you enjoying a fresh glass of water at breakfast or taking a drink bottle to the park, then they’re more likely to do it, too!
Have a glass of water as soon as you wake up to relieve fatigue and to flush away any toxins. Getting into the habit of drinking a glass of water before, during and after every meal will help process and break down food. Take this one step further by infusing water with flavours that pair well with your meal, like cucumber water with crispy greens or fresh strawberries and lemon with a fruit salad.
Certain foods and veggies also contain high amounts of water, including watermelon, tomato, oranges, celery, lettuce and pineapple. Make a salad to go with your meal or cut up fresh celery sticks or orange slices for kids to snack on at home or to put in their lunchbox to munch on at play time.
By following just a few simple tips, you can change your kids’ perspective on drinking water, making something that’s often seen as boring into something fun and exciting. Modelling good habits and changing our own routines can also influence the way kids drink water - it’s a win-win for everyone.
So next time you reach for the tap, use your imagination and make water fun for the whole family!