I get a lot of emails about making awesome school lunches, recipes, and how to get kids to eat healthy foods; but just as often, I get emails about how to get kids to drink more water.
Prior to being the parent to 3 lovely kids, I would have never thought that getting my kids to drink any water would be an issue. After all, I like water -a lot. But what do you know… it’s actually a lot harder to get your kids to love it than I thought.
With television programming, advertising, and their friends drinking sugary drinks and sodas, the pressure to “try them” is greater than ever. Statistically speaking, more than 40% of Americans don’t drink the recommended amount of water daily, and approximately 25% of all kids don’t drink any water on any given day. No wonder thousands of moms in my community wonder how they can get their kids to drink more water. I’m worried too!
In college, I bought my first Brita filter since the water in Stockton CA did not taste good at all. It was also murky looking, but that might have had something to do with the apartment building’s old pipes. Either way, drinking water that didn’t taste good was a chore.
For a short time, I ordered a water delivery service; however, I cancelled it within a few months because of the cost. Hands down, my Brita pitcher was a lot cheaper and I loved that I could keep it in the fridge at all times. That pitcher saved me a lot of money. One filter can filter through 240 gallons of water. I used to pay $6.50 for each 5 gallon delivery jug; so I would pay $312 for the same 240 gallons on a $5 filter! Yeah, it didn’t take me long to do the math. Delivery service out, Brita filter in.
So back to our kids. Here are the top 5 complaints I get from parents:
- Water doesn’t taste good
- Water isn’t pretty
- Water isn’t fun
- Water doesn’t take the thirst away
- Water doesn’t have vitamins
I swear I get emails that have all of those reasons and more. So here are my 5 things that will help you get your kids to drink more water if you experience any of the above 5 and many others.
- Make the water taste good. If you live in an area where the water “tastes funny” you need a water filter. Remember me in college? The water tasted horrible and my inexpensive Brita filter fixed that issue. It’s really hard to drink a lot of something that doesn’t taste good. I also have this portable filtration bottle that I can take anywhere. Airport water fountains? check.
I love adding fresh fruit to water to give it more flavor. I feel like I’m a spa when I drink it. Not all kids like lemon in their water so I experiment with berries and oranges. My daughter also loves fresh mint leaves in her water.
Water can be pretty. Ok, maybe not if it’s murky but if you filter it it’s crystal clear. Water should not be pink, blue, purple, or any other color. Make the water pretty by adding fresh fruits or these awesome fruit cubes!
- Water can be a lot of fun! If it’s fun to play with water balloons outside that are filled with water so can be drinking it! If you think it’s fun to give kids grape flavored sodas or colored fruit punches, think again. The side effects of the over consumption of sugar in this country are far from fun.
- My kids have special cups with a straw that I fill every day when they get home from school to drink around the house. For their school lunches I pack their water in a stainless steel cup or their favorite straw cup with lots of ice. We take a stainless steel water bottle filled with iced water everywhere we go. All.the.time.
- Iced water is a terrific thirst quencher. My kids getIt’s true: kids prefer ice in their water. If it’s going to make them drink more then it’s ice water all day long. And those sports drinks? They are designed for post-athletic recovery. My kids aren’t athletes and they don’t need to replace their electrolytes from jumping our trampoline for 15 minutes.
Food has vitamins, water is essential for our bodies to function. When parents ask me what is the single most important thing they can do to get their kids to drink more water I tell them this: remove the junk and keep the good. You are the one that buys the food and supplies with your money.If your kids are more prone to drinking juices when available, then don’t buy them or keep them for special occasions. You’ll find no sodas at my house (with the exception of an adult party)and I nearly all the time I brew iced tea. Nobody has complained yet.If your kids are drinking a lot of juice and you want to reduce the amount and increase water consumption, start by diluting the juice with water. You can’t do that if you buy single serve juice boxes but you can if you buy the bigger bottles and mix.
I read a book years ago that basically said “your body isn’t in need of a snack, it’s thirsty!” Boy is that true! I nearly always find that my “I need something” is just “I need water.”
Getting your kids to drink more water comes down to this: availability and appeal. It’s that simple. Make fresh water available at all times and add ice cubes, fill a special cup with it, add fruit… whatever it takes. Water is essential.
Last week I saw this video and the statistics on soda consumption are incredible.
What are some of your struggles with getting your kids to drink water? Feel free to leave a comment below.
“This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and Brita blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.
I’m glad that you provided some tips on how to get your kids to drink more water such as putting ice in it. Any drink that has ice in it is better than not having any at all. This includes water. Children indeed love iced water and it really is a thirst quencher just like you said. If this would make my children drink more water every single day, then I won’t have second thoughts of putting enough ice cubes inside their jugs to last the whole day. Thanks.
My concern is my two year old son LOVES milk. We keep offering water but often time he turns it down and prefers milk. I have tried using different containers to get him drinking water but he insists to have milk.
What else can i do to get him drink water?
Continue to offer it and reduce the amount of milk would be my only suggestion. Always consult with your pediatritian.
I do ALL of these things, but it’s near impossible to get my 5 year old son to drink. He brings a bottle to school with him but it comes home full every day because he “forgot” about it. When we get a new “special” cup or straw, the novelty lasts for about half a cup and then it’s done.
I know it can be hard. I just often say “take a sip” and guide them to do it.
Your tips are great! My issue is getting my ten year old to drink anything at all particularly when she’s active with sports or playing outdoors. She will have big smoothies for breakfast some days which is good and is filled with a lot of water. Other times I just can’t seem to get her to drink water. Water is all we drink at my house, so she is used to not drinking sodas, juices etc. My issue is she would rather be playing with her friends and when she checks in I remind her and offer her water but she always turns it down. She only seems to drink by the end of the day when she’s very thirsty and that tells me she is already dehydrated. I’m not sure how to get her to drink more throughout the day!!
This is quite common Ashleigh. My only suggestion is to always have a cup filled and made available. I’ve found that one of those re-usable lidded cups with a straw work great.
Erika L Schwartz
I would make sure she had a bottle every time she was running out the door to go play (bpa free of course) she wont stop playing to get a drink but if she has one with her shes much more likely to drink while shes playing.
having it handy is the first thing that must be done, of course! 🙂
my issue is that my daughter doesn’t want to consume any liquid, water or otherwise! It is pulling teeth to get her to drink even 4oz per sitting… Any suggestions???
This is something you might want to see an Occupational Therapist who focuses on Pediatric Eating. This is possibly a swallowing issue.
Hi there, my struggle with getting my 9 year old daughter to drink water is her dad! He drinks soda so she wants it because dad has it! How can I teach her to drink water if dad is not doing it? By the way I love your ideas. I’m trying to get my family to eat healthier and your meal ideas are great! Thank you for sharing.
Oh dear…. that’s a conversation to have between you and your spouse. I can’t help there…
Erika L Schwartz
Honestly i tell my 7 year old all of the bad toxic ingredients in them and we looked them up on the label and then online so he understood why it was so detrimental to his health. I tell him its like poison. Tell her they use coke to clean up roads after accidents it will actually work better thsn most cleaners because of the acid and people are ingesting it. It may not reform them over night but my son has started finding HFCS in other products and asking more questions since Im educating him and not just restricting him from having what he wants.
Water is always best. you are right!
What great ideas! I think any kid would love some delicious water if it looks like THAT!
Thanks so much Tiffany!