I have a confession. My kids don’t love water. They drink it, but it is never their first choice. Let me be the first to say that I am not proud of this! In fact, I wish I could go back in time and change this. As toddlers, my kids did like water. But then we introduced watered-down juice. I don’t blame them for preferring the sweet taste of juice over water. However, as parents we gave in and offered them more juice or milk than we did water. I noticed a month ago (when I was struggling with morning sickness) that we became lazy and I let the “water drinking” habit slip. The result was that both kids struggled with constipation! It was not fun. After that, I was determined to help my little ones get in the habit of drinking more water. Here are 5 things that we’ve done to help them drink more water.
1. Use Fun Cups
Drinking water is more exciting if you’re drinking it in a fun cup! I got cups with the swirly straw (in the photo above) at Target and they love it. I like clear cups because they can see how much water they have left. Another tip is to always have a cup of water on the table, in the car, or in the diaper bag so its always available for them.
2. Ice Cubes with Fruit
We like to put ice with a little piece of fruit inside. It looks more fun in their cup and it sometimes adds a little flavor to the water. I found this heart ice cube tray at Target and added a half of a raspberry to each heart. You could also add blueberries, strawberries, mandarin oranges, or whatever fruit you’d like!
3. Finish Water at Mealtime
Our new rule is that both kids have to finish their glass of water with their meal. Sounds simple, but it helps us make sure they are drinking enough H2O. (I’m certain many of you already do this, but for us it has really helped!) Also, I find that my kids are more full from their meal if they drink their water. Otherwise, they are asking for a snack 20 minutes later!
4. Water Chart
I put together a reward chart to help motivate my kids to drink more water. We started to do this to help them get in the habit of drinking water. Once we see that the habit is formed and we don’t have to do much reinforcing, we will take away the reward chart. Here is what it looks like:
As you can see, after the child finishes 30 glasses of water, they get a prize. This can be something really simple, such as a small treat, a quarter for their piggy bank, a special date with mom or dad. Nothing too fancy, but something to motivate them. To download your copy of this click here —> Water Chart
5. Only offer juice for special occasions
This one is hard for us. My kids love (watered-down) orange juice with breakfast, but eventually I’d like to just be a water and milk drinking family. I want to have juice only be for special occasions and not a daily drink. It’s a goal I have and I know we will achieve it.
So what about you? Do your kids like water? Do you have any tips to share?
10/14 UPDATE: Both my boys LOVE water now! They ask for it all the time. Glad we cracked down on this and changed their juice-loving habits!
I am having problems getting our son to drink enough water so these ideas are great, I especially like the fruit in ice cubes, I hope he does too.
Fruit ice cubes is cool. Kids can be at times difficult to manage. Stuff like this will definitely help. I also don’t encourage kids or for that matter adults drinking juices. Anyway nice article. Cheers!
Besides on being helpful I think this is fun to do. Thanks for the tips!
These are great tips! As a child, I would drink almost anything if it had a crazy/swirly straw! I’m glad your kids opt for water now.
Thank you so much for these tips! Coming from a colder climate we’ve not been raised as big water drinkers ourselves, so it’s not too surprising that our daughter isn’t either! But every day i try to encourage her to drink it. (Again she prefers juice). New cups work as a novelty for her, but this wears off after a few days. Definitely going to try the fruit ice cubes, drink with dinner and reward chart! Great advice 🙂
Susen Kuchta says
My daughter loves milk and would drink it all day if I let her. Funny but she doesn’t like juice at all! She too just started with some bathroom issues and I’m guessing it was caused from way too much milk so she now only gets a cup in the morning and tiny bit at bedtime. She’s good with water and thankfully realizes that the milk might be causing some of her issues so she’s doing fine with water. It’s actually her next favorite after milk. I love the water drinking chart!
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Angela Thayer says
🙂 Me too! I really love water especially when I am pregnant. I think my body is telling me that I am needing more of it then!
Water is the main drink for my son. He is 4 years old right now. He has a small 4 oz milk in the morning and another 4 oz milk at night. The only juice he ever gets is the juice I make from fresh organic fruits with my juicer. Juice is only about 2 -3 times a week depending if I can find produce on sale. I’d like to stop milk all together because I know there are some gross stuff in there and he can get his nutrition in other ways. For now though, I let him have a little bit. So besides a little milk and occasional juice he drinks water all day long and he loves it.
Angela Thayer says
That is so awesome! Way to go mama! 🙂 I agree about the milk. Moderation is good. We drink almond milk, but try to limit it because of sugars. My oldest has some digestive issues, so too much dairy isn’t good for his body. That’s why we switched to almond milk. Thanks for sharing!!
I just made my first batch of almond milk this morning. Not to bad! I used soaked almonds, water, a little dash of organic vanilla extract, and about 2-3 dates. So there isn’t any refined sugar in there. The sugar in fruits such as dates assimilates easily in the body and is actually good for you. How did your kiddo’s do with the switch to almond milk? I haven’t given my son any yet.
Angela Thayer says
Wow! That is impressive. We buy ours, but that is a great idea to make some. My kids did not like dairy milk to begin with, so we started with almond milk after they were done breastfeeding (my oldest was 19 months and my youngest was 16 months). Thanks for the suggestion!