It is no secret that all living things need water to survive, including your children. Nowadays when you enter the grocery store you are surrounded by so many drink options. There are endless aisles of flavored waters, coconut waters, kombuchas, juices, sodas and so much more. With so many options it may be hard to steer your child in the direction of simple water. However, it is important as a parent that you understand the importance of getting your little ones on the water bandwagon. Water makes up more than half of your child’s body weight and is essential in helping them stay hydrated during these long and hot summer days. Instilling the early habit of drinking water is critical for your children’s great longterm health.
The Facts on Your Children and Water
Adults and children alike are constantly reminded about the importance of drinking water. However, do you really know just how important it is? Check out some of these facts.
- The body’s entire anatomy depends on water to function properly.
- A child’s thirst mechanism is much less developed than that of an adult. Therefore their bodies may not alert them before they are already dehydrated.
- Our bodies use water to regulate temperature, eliminate waste, and cushion our spinal cord and joints.
- Water flushes toxins out of the body before they become poisonous.
- Dehydration will lead to a reduction in both mental and physical performance, which impacts your child’s ability to learn.
- Mild dehydration can affect children’s fatigue levels, mood and possibly their ability to learn.
- Even though mild dehydration is not life threatening, not drinking enough water may result in cognitive impairment, headaches or nausea.
- Almost one in four kids drink no water during the course of their day.
- According to a nationwide study from Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, more than half of children and teenagers in the United States may not be properly hydrated.
Be a Water Role Model
Always remember that you are your child’s biggest role model. It will be hard to convince them to drink water if they don’t see you doing it. Be sure to point out to them that you are drinking water because it is important for your body and that you enjoy it! Make it into a game and see who can drink more water.
Tricks and Tips
Do you feel that no matter how hard you try, you just cannot get your children to drink water? You know the importance but maybe your attempts all seem to lead down the road to the same resounding “no”. Well, oftentimes with children, desperate times call for interesting and exciting measures! If your kids need a little push in the direction of H2O consider trying some of these tips.
- Add fruit slices to their water: Most children love fruit. Try sticking a few slices of their favorite into their water to “sweeten the deal” a bit! Along with giving their water a bit sweeter of a taste, it can also add in some extra vitamins and antioxidants!
- Consider exciting accessories to jazz up drinking water: Kids love things like funky straws and silly shaped ice cubes. For budding scientists they even make connectible straws that kids can build on their own. Or, for the little princesses try Ice Princess Wand Straws. Consider making water a little more exciting with lego, animal or shape ice cubes. For a splash of color and flavor add a tiny splash of organic 100% juice.
- Allow kids to serve themselves: How many times a day do you hear the words “I want to do it myself?”. Children want to feel like they can make their own choices and be responsible. If they can reach the water dispenser, teach them how to use it and try hanging some cups at their level. If they cannot reach, consider a stool or try leaving out a small pitcher of water closer to their level. You may just end up very surprised at how much water they will drink when they make the choice themselves.
Now that you know how beneficial drinking an adequate amount of water is everyday for your kids, how do you actually get them to do it? By making it super easy, convenient, and fun, your kids will start to enjoy trips to the kitchen for a big glass of water. Our friends at Puj recently introduced their new PhillUp cup which changes the way we keep our kids hydrated while at home. The PhillUp cup is the world’s first hangable kids cup, allowing kids to grab their own cup and fill it up with water whenever they’re thirsty.
Simply attach the 3M adhesive hook to your refrigerator or any other surface (no worries, it will remove later without any permanent damage) and hook on the matching color cup. Each cup is dishwasher safe, BPA and PVC free, and comes in a variety of colors, perfect for each of your kids. There will be no more cup confusion, no more stranded sippy cups littered around the house, and your kids will be better hydrated and happier each time they PhillUp!
Choose Water Over Juice
When given the choice between water and juice, kids will likely pick juice. The sweeter tasting beverage is often a child’s favorite. Consider not keeping juice in your house on a regular basis and only save it for an occasional treat.
Here are three important reasons why:
- High in Sugar: Fruit juices (and even juices that contain vegetables) are loaded with sugar. This includes the ones that say “No Sugar Added”. This statement just means that there has been no extra sugar added, it does not mean the juice is free of sugar. When you consume a whole piece of fruit you are also consuming the fiber which slows the absorption of sugar within your body. When your child consumes a fruit juice they are consuming the concentrated fructose (naturally occurring sugar) that was juiced out of the fruit. Though naturally occurring, without the fiber, it will still cause a drastic spike in blood sugar.
- Contains Unwanted Ingredients: Aside from the sugar that is naturally occurring in fruit juices, any juice that is not 100% juice can also contain ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup (or some other artificial sweetener), artificial colors and fake flavorings. Since the pasteurization of juice kills most of the nutrients in the fruit, they then add in synthetic forms of these vitamins.
- Full of Empty Calories: Though fruit juices are generally high in calories they are void of nutrients. These calories will make your children feel full, however they will not nourish your child’s body with the vitamins and minerals that they need.
Water clearly has a major place in our lives. Though it can be frustrating to try to get your children to drink water, consider trying out our tips and tricks. This is just one of those things, as a parent, that you should continually try to enforce. Getting your children in the regular habit of making water their primary source of hydration is setting them up for a great habit that will last and benefit them for their whole life!
Photo Credits: Jessica