5 Fun and Simple Ways to Get Your Kids to Drink Their Water

I LOVE drinking water! It truly is my favorite drink in the world. Ok champagne and red wine come in a close second and third but… I’m not sure I’d be much good to anyone if  I sipped those all day the way I do water.  All silliness aside, I love the crisp clean taste of water and it leaves me feeling refreshed and energized.

I believe this has a lot to do with the fact that I was raised on water. With the exception of Sunday brunch, when we enjoyed fresh squeezed orange juice with our croissants, and our daily cup of hot cocoa at breakfast, water was the only beverage my siblings and I were served. We also enjoyed sparkling apple juice as a special treat at birthdays and holidays but that was it. So I never developed a real dependency on fruit juices and frankly I find most juices to be much too sweet. But I know that is not the case for most of our children.

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{Image credit: tatyanagl / 123RF Stock Photo}

Though I have adopted the same habits as my parents with my girls I get a lot of resistance from them when it comes to drinking water. They find water much too boring! They are all three fairly athletic and will reach for water when they exercise, but the rest of the time they’d much rather drink something with a little more flavor.

So I’ve learned to be creative.

Here are some of the ways we make drinking water fun for our girls:

Use sparkling water

There’s something about the tickle of bubbles in your mouth that makes drinking sparkling water fun! And many studies have shown that sparkling water helps in eliminating toxins from our bodies so go ahead and add some bubbles to your water. We make our own sparkling water with a SodaStream . I love that I can control the amount of bubbles I get and the girls love that they can make it themselves. It also makes drinking sparkling water a lot more affordable than buying sparkling water a the grocery store and I love that I’m recycling my bottles in this way. When we bought our Sodastream it came with a dozen pouches of syrups to flavor our water with.  I personally don’t care for all the chemicals and artificial sweetners in those so I promptly disposed of them. I much prefer making my own, all natural, organic flavored water.

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{Photo Credit: Sodastream}

Make your own flavored water

Flavored waters have become my best friend when it comes to getting my girls to drink up. Think “spa water” — it’s tasty and refreshing.

Citrus fruits are a favorite.  You can use lime, lemon or grapefruit and they never go out of season.  Add anywhere from a couple of tablespoons to a 1/2 cup of fresh squeeze juice to flat or sparkling water.  Citrus fruits and greens have the added benefit of making your water more alkaline which gives your immune system a boost. You can also add thin slices of fruits and herbs to your pitcher or glass and fill with flat or sparkling water. I like to prepare a big jug and keep it in my fridge. My girls love to come up with all sorts of combinations.    Here are some of our favorites:

  • Lemon and cucumber
  • basil and cucumber
  • lemon and strawberries
  • lemon and lavender
  • Lime and mint
  • strawberries and mint
  • mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries and blackberries) and mint
  • orange and cloves

Another way to flavor your water is to  make a purée of fresh or frozen fruits such as berries, peaches or nectarines, then place 1 to 2 tablespoons in a glass, add 8 ounces of sparkling water, stir and enjoy!

And if you have a juicer, make some fresh squeezed juice and add about 1 cup to 1 liter of water.  A favorite this time of year is spiced apple cider  — sprinkle some cinnamon on an apple and juice with some ginger. Add one cup to 2 cups sparkling water for a yummy treat.

Infusing your water with fruits is a great way to transition your kids from sugary drinks, whether they be juice or sodas, to water.  Some health experts even suggest adding a little bit of stevia but I personally don’t care for that option, as I feel strongly that it is important to train our children’s taste buds to appreciate the natural sweetness of fruits without having to enhance it with any type of sweetner.  But if you’re having a tough time, then by all means give it a try.

Add some fun and flavorful ice cubes

Kids love making fruit filled ice cubes! Choose your favorite fruits, chop them if necessary then place in an ice tray, cover with filtered water and place in your freezer for a few hours until set.  You can also use fruit purées or juices to fill fun shaped trays.  The flavor from the ice cubes will be much more subtle than if you are using fresh fruits but kids love to watch the ice cubes dissolve and the colors create fun swirls in their glass.

Choose the right container

Believe it or not, the container in which you store your water impacts the flavor.  Shape and feel of the container also play into the experience.

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{Photo Credit: Ello}

My personal favorite type of container is a wide mouthed glass bottle such as this one by Ello.  This model allows me to add my sliced fruits, it is completely odorless and does not impart any weird taste to my water.  And it feels pretty close to drinking from a regular glass.

Of course glass is not necessarily the best option for school.  You can find all sorts of fun and colorful options in stainless steel, with a wide mouth or sports top.  I have found, however, that some of these impart a metal taste to my water which I don’t particularly care for.  So try a few models or ask your friends for “tasteless” recommendations.

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{Photo Credit: AdNArt}

With all the attention given to harmful plastics, there are plenty  of BPA free options on the market now and these are a great choice for young children. Choose a model with an infuser, such as this one by AdNArt,  to make your child’s favorite flavored water.  Just make sure to keep the water bottle in a cool place so that the fruit does not spoil.

At home use fun and colorful glasses to make the drinking experience more enjoyable.  It’s amazing what a pretty tumbler can do!

Make it a Game

Kids love to play games and games are an effective way to get young children interested in drinking water. Yo can play “guess the flavor” — have your child close his or her eyes, add a squirt of lemon or lime or any other fruit that strikes your fancy and see if your child can guess what you’ve added.

My good friend Anne Newsome of The Saturday Evening Pot decided to have a drinking race with her son to encourage him to drink more.  Keeping a chart and adding fun stickers is another way to get children young and old to drink more.

When it comes to games the possibilities are truly endless so be creative and let your kids come up with fun games of their own!

As a rule of thumb we should all be drinking half our body weight in ounces of water each day. So if you weight 100 lbs, that would mean drinking 50 ounces of water every single day. And that is the baseline. More than that is even better. Fruit juices, sodas, coffee and tea don’t count towards that number so finding ways to make water fun is essential.

Here is a simple system for making sure you and your kids drink enough water every day:

  • drink 1 glass when you wake up
  • drink 1 glass before you leave the house
  • pack a 32 ounce water bottle and drink throughout the day (a smaller child can use a 16 or 24 ounce water bottle)
  • drink 1 glass when you return to your dorm room
  • drink 1 glass before going to bed

Getting your child to drink even one glass of water may seem like an impossible task if juices and sodas have been the main source of hydration until now,  but trust me you’ll get there.  Teach your child the importance of water when it comes to feeling good and having lots of energy to play. Knowledge empowers our children to make healthy choices.  And of course model what you expect from them and drink plenty of water yourself!

Is water the main beverage in your home? What fun and creative ways have you found to inspire your child to drink water?

 

About Valerie 

Valerie Remy-Milora is the mother of 3 amazing girls, an author, public speaker, coach and founder of Scrumptious Moms. She is passionate about empowering moms to embrace self care and live a vibrant, joyful life with their loved ones. A health and fitness nut, she is an advocate for chemical-free living, real food and GMO labeling. She believes in the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.

Comments

  1. Great tips, and it’s easy to see why water can be thought of as boring by kids. I grew up in a house where soda was drank with every meal and in between meals, but I never really developed a huge liking for it. Then when I want away to college, I just started drinking plain old boring water to save money. It’s the best habit I ever developed. Now I always have a bottle of water with me no matter where I go.

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