Water is the most natural and healthy drink you can offer your child. There is a 1.5 hour time lag between being thirsty and actually feeling thirsty, so children are at a greater risk of dehydration. We have previously discussed the importance of introducing a cup of water to your baby from 6 months , which is essential in order to create good habits early on in life. From 1 year, ensure your child is drinking enough with our top tips on how to increase your child's water intake!
Lead by example
Firstly the most important thing to do is to lead by example. Your child takes in everything you do whether you realise it or not. For example if you make a face about eating broccoli at the dinner table, chances are they aren’t going to accept it either. The same goes for drinking enough water. So if they don’t see you drinking it, they won’t want to themselves.
Keep it close by
The best thing to do to encourage your child to drink enough water is to always have it around. If they are sitting down playing, leave a beaker or cup beside them. Ensure that they have a drink of water with their dinner, and for older kids, pack a large bottle of water for them to take to school. By simply placing the water in front of them you will encourage them to drink it. Don’t make a big deal about them having to drink it, just leave it there and let them sip away as they please.
Offer water-based foods
You can also ensure they are getting enough fluids each day by providing them with water based fruits and vegetables like cucumber, courgettes, watermelon and strawberries. Water can come from foods too!
If you are finding it really difficult to get them to drink any water at all, try infusing it with fruit to make it look pretty and exciting. Add kiwis, strawberries, cucumber, or whatever they like. Make it into a fun activity that you can do together each morning, coming up with different combinations and getting them involved in the process. After a while, you can slowly introduce the idea of less fruit and eventually move on to plain water. If you are really struggling, try diluting some fresh orange juice in 1 parts juice to 10 parts water.
Make water exciting
My girls love having a soluble vitamin tablet in their water in the morning. They might not always need the extra vitamins, but the whole process of dropping it into their water and watching it fizz up is so exciting for them! Once it's ready, they drink the whole thing no questions asked. Give it a go and see if your little ones love it too!
Mummy Cooks Top Tips
- Start first thing in the morning – ensure they start the day off with a glass of water. Children who are adequately hydrated are more likely to perform better at school.
- Aim for your child to have between 6-8 drinks per day.
- Keep encouraging your child to drink water so they develop a taste for it.
- Always offer water at meal times.
- Ensure they are particularly well hydrated on days of activities.
- Actively encourage them to drink more and lead by example
It is so important that you ensure your child is getting enough water on a daily basis; research suggests that dehydration can have an effect on children’s cognitive functioning and moods. By introducing water from an early age, it will quickly become part of your child’s daily routine. For more information check out Suitable drinks for Babies and Young Children.