We all know the importance of staying hydrated, especially in the summer heat, but getting your kids to drink water can sometimes be a chore.
But it's important: water has zero calories and no added sugar; it keeps joints, bones, and teeth healthy; and can help kids maintain a healthy weight. Plus, water is much cheaper than sports drinks, sodas, and juice!
How much water should your child drink?
Most American children and teenagers aren't drinking enough fluids, and that's leaving them mildly dehydrated, which can cause headaches and fatigue. According to a new study by the Institute of Medicine, one-quarter of a broad cross-section of children ages 6 to 19 apparently don't drink any water at all as part of their fluid intake. Children and teenagers should consume about two to three quarts of water a day (1.7 to 3.3 liters, the IOM says), depending on age, size and sex. Adolescent boys generally need to drink more water than girls do, research suggests.
What about younger kids?
10 ways to help kids stay hydrated:
1. Set a good example and drink your water too
Kids mimic you, so by making sure you're consistently drinking water rather than soda or other sugary beverages, you're setting a positive example and encouraging them to do the same.
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2. Buy fun cups and special water bottles
Providing your kids with their own unique and appealing cups and bottles can make the act of drinking water more enjoyable and enticing for them.
3. Make your own popsicles
Make it a fun family activity by letting kids make their own! You can use small paper cups to freeze a yummy water and fruit puree, or look for popsicle molds in fun shapes and colors.
4. Eat foods with high water content, like fresh fruit and vegetables
Incorporating water-rich foods into your children's diet not only provides them with hydration but also introduces healthy eating habits. Encourage kids to enjoy fruits and veggies like cucumbers, celery, and watermelons — all of which are made up of more than 90% water!
5. Offer a fun reward for finishing their water bottle
Just a small prize or a privilege that they can earn by reaching a specific water consumption goal can be a great motivator for kids!
6. Add a silly straw to their cup
Using a colorful or uniquely shaped straw can add an element of fun that can encourage your kids to sip on their water more frequently.
7. Blend water and frozen fruit
Create a refreshing and flavorful twist by blending water with frozen fruit. This infused water not only provides a burst of taste but also makes hydration more enjoyable for your kids.
8. Make fun ice cubes like silly shapes, colors, or add fruit!
Freeze water in creative ice cube trays to make drinking water visually appealing. You can add colorful fruit pieces or use molds for fun shapes.
9. Play water pong
Adapt the popular party game by replacing alcohol with water. Set up cups on opposite sides of a table and take turns tossing ping pong balls into them. This game can turn hydration into an entertaining activity that encourages drinking water.
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10. Add fruit to their water
Enhance the flavor of water by adding slices of fresh fruit. Whether it's citrus fruits, berries, or cucumbers, infusing water with natural flavors can make it more enticing and encourage your kids to stay hydrated.
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