Getting kids to drink water can be easier than you think. For many parents, when it comes to food and drink, fast and easy takes the place of healthy. Whether it’s the drive-through, delivery or sodas, it’s all handed to us with no hassle. But there’s a price for convenience: our health and wellness. Lack of water affects kids’ ability to do well in the classroom, takes a toll on their skin and bones and causes drowsiness.
Studies show that three out of four kids don’t drink enough water. And getting them excited about drinking more can be a tough sell when they see their friends with sugary drinks. Changing behavior is easy when you set the right example and give them a fun way to get and stay hydrated.
- Be a role model
Kids copy their parents. So they need to see you drinking your water. Juice and coffee might be a routine kick starter for your day, but water energizes you most. When you fill your water bottle, make sure the kids fill theirs, too. There’s no better path to health than to set a good example early in life, so your children develop good habits.
- Give them a bottle to talk about
A basic reusable water bottle can become a status symbol and make your children a positive center of attention. Let the kids decorate them with stickers or ribbons. You can measure and mark lines on the bottle, so they know how much they should drink by certain times of the day. Then, reward them each week, by giving them a break on a chore or by letting them watch a favorite show. The biggest reward, of course, will be better health and the development of good habits. Experts call this a habit loop.
- Add some sizzle
Spice up the water with some healthy fruit or vegetable slices. Lemon or orange slices, as well as cucumber, are healthy ways to get kids to drink more water. The flavor will simulate a sugary soda without any of the calories and unhealthy additives. It’s also a good idea to let your children choose what they want in their water and let them make it with your supervision. There are plenty of fun recipes to try.