If you’re a parent of an active child, you’ve probably experienced a summer afternoon with a grouchy, sweaty headed kid. As a mother of four, I’ve seen this far more often than I’d like to admit! I’ve come to learn that keeping my girls hydrated is the key to ending a hot, busy day with smiles instead of tears. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps maintain energy levels, improve mood, digestion, and immune function. So how do you get a stubborn three year old to drink more water? Here are a few of my favorite tips:
1. Make it part of your routine.
Children respond well to things that are a done systematically, like brushing the teeth before bed and washing the hands before dinner. Have your child drink a glass of water before they sit down to breakfast each morning. Too busy for a sit-down breakfast? Fill a water bottle to have with a breakfast-on-the-go!
2. Make it a family thing!
Create a chart where each family member can track their water intake for the day. Set a weekly goal and a family reward to share if everyone reaches their goal.
3. Give them choices.
Water can be boring! Keep some fresh (or frozen) berries handy to liven it up. Sliced citrus works well too. This has the added benefit of being a fun activity for younger kids as well!
4. Carry it with you.
Keep bottles of water in the freezer that can be thrown in the car when you’re going to be out for the day. You’re more likely to encourage your kids to drink up if you have cool water on hand. Simple convenience is a great way to set your family up for success!
In my house, the phrase “try drinking a glass of water” is uttered after each whine or complaint of physical ailment. Although it is certainly not a “cure all”, water can help calm sobs, cool a dry throat, and give busy bodies the replenishment they need.