If you follow this blog, you’ll know the topic of hydration is a subject close to my heart and one that I’ve written about before. Today I’m here to share my top tips to get your kids drinking more water. Before I share my tips, I need to stress why it’s so important to drink water. You know how you feel when you are sapped of energy, feeling a bit lethargic, can’t concentrate? Well that’s how it is for kids when they are not drinking enough. We need to help them concentrate and get the most out of life. It feels good to be full of energy, running around, happy as larry doesn’t it? Yep it does for me, and believe me, I know. Getting the kids to drink water can be a huge challenge. Often there can be a lot of peer pressure from other kids drinking sugary drinks, but remember water is the best way to hydrate the body. Water is free from sugar, sweeteners, colourings and has no calories!
I have 3 kids, all in secondary school now, but along the way I’ve found ways to get them drinking more water, and I think they’ll one day thank me for it…
The oldest was what I’d call a reluctant drinker. Tuna, as I refer to her here on the blog, just wasn’t aware that she needed to drink. She used to complain of tiredness, lack of energy. She’s much better now, but I’d have to really cajole her and persuade her to drink. She’d confuse thirst with hunger. (Quite often this is what kids do, they don’t realise they are actually thirsty and start getting sapped of energy due to the onset of dehydration.) Give them a glass of water, and a bit like flowers, they soon perk up again!
Then we have Spike, the middle one, who has never had a problem drinking gallons! That’s just how he is. Always a drink in his hand – water as much as possible, and always full of beans! Lastly we have King Julien, the youngest, who is kind of in-between the other two in terms of water consumption. Anyway, kids are all different, and sometimes need to be handled in slightly different ways. The tips I am sharing today have worked for me bringing up mine, and hopefully these tips will work for your kids! At least, give them a try and feel free to tweak the ideas to suit your kids!
Top Hydration Tips
Tip one: turn drinking water into a habit – part of the daily routine
Always send the kids off to school with at least one bottle so they can sip on the bottle throughout the day. It is said that the more the kids sip, the better the habit, as the water is gone before you know it. It is recommended that children drink 6-8 glasses a day!
For my kids, the sports bottle top helps them to drink more. The kids simply flip the lid open, and pour it free falling into their mouths. If it’s a screw top bottle, from my experience the kids seem to drink less…
If the kids are little, go for a couple of smaller bottles – one for break and one for lunch (it can be too overwhelming if it’s too big a bottle; then as they grow their thirst grows too!)
Try and get the kids into a habit of drinking water, and sipping on it regularly. Wherever they are – on the way to school, doing sport, doing homework, whenever, and wherever. Sometimes even in the winter, it can be hot in school.
As I say, with Tuna, I pop a glass of water ready on the table at breakfast for her, so she can sip as soon as she’s down for breakfast. The same for the boys. Then at least I know they have all had a glass of water to kick off the day. One down, seven to go!
Tip two: use a colourful or fun crazy straw to make drinking water fun!
At home you can use fun colourful glasses or a beaker with their favourite cartoon character on, all aimed at encouraging them to drink and making drinking more fun. But when out and about, it’s fun to use colourful straws, or those fun crazy straws! My kids used to just love watching the liquid go round the loops and onwards and upwards, eventually tumbling into their little mouths! You had to suck quite hard though!
Tip Three : make sure they carry a bottle for sport and sip on it!
When staying after school, it’s so important to keep hydrated when they are doing sport – sweating loads, whether football, swimming or diving is their thing. It is so important. We lose fluids very quickly and we need to not only drink for re-hydration but it also helps aid the body in its recovery, after exercise. Some sports venues do have water fountains, but often there just isn’t enough time for the kids during a quick break to run over to the fountain and then back in time. Much better to have a handy bottle of water with them that they keep close by to keep sipping on throughout their activity.
Tip Four : add fruit to flavour the water
Mine love to add berries such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries to the water just to add a bit of colour. Alternatively another favourite of ours is adding lemon slices, lime and a sprig of mint to the water- deliciously refreshing! You will be surprised how many extra glasses they have!
Tip Five : make some ice with fun ice cube shapes and moulds. We have the LEGO men and Micky Mouse moulds which have always been popular! Or you could even pop some fruit into the ice cube moulds with the water and freeze, then pop in the bottles!
So these are my top hydration tips. We always have water on the table in tall carafes at mealtimes, so it’s easy to just keep topping up your glass of water. I also heard drinking water at mealtimes can help children tolerate vegetables. So that is worth thinking about too!
But before I sign off though, I wanted to leave you with a couple more thoughts on water – did you know…?
Studies have shown that kids who drink 1 litre of water a day stay concentrating longer, have better short-term memories and generally perform better than those kids that don’t drink as much
Sometimes kids get extra thirsty at bedtime (as they haven’t drunk enough in the day) which can lead to little night time accidents…
Kids should drink more water in relation to their body size than bigger people like you and me!
Do you have any tips and advice to add? We’d love to hear from you.
Hope this is useful and do read more of our hints and tips.
Thanks for reading!
The Lunchbox Lady x
All thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own. I’m working with Highland Spring and Britmums in a paid relationship promoting the #TermTimeEssentials campaign about the importance of hydration to kids. Do visit http://highlandspringmagazine.com for more advice and tips. This is their first e-magazine guide full of head to toe hints and tips to happy hydration.