What Do You Do When Your Child Won't Drink Water?

Reviewed on 6/18/2021
when you kid won't drink water
Here are 9 ways to encourage your child to drink more water throughout the day

Fluid intake throughout the day is just as important for children as it is for you. Kids who drink less than 6-8 cups of water (8-ounce cups) a day are more likely to feel fatigued, get nauseous, and suffer from headaches

But what if your kid doesn’t like water? Like a lot of kids, they may prefer a juice box or soda over plain water. A study found that kids who do not drink water are more likely to drink sugary drinks, which means they could be consuming 10% more calories than the required daily calorie intake. So how do you get your kid to drink more water?

Here are 9 tips that may help you make sure your child is staying hydrated and healthy.

9 tips to get your child to drink water

1. Start early and make drinking water a habit.

Pediatricians recommend introducing water as soon as an infant turns 6 months and starts to eat solid foods. Babies that start drinking water early are less likely to reject it later.

2. Lead by example.

Set an example by drinking water in front of your child. With every meal, offer water in a bottle or cup. You can also make drinking water a fun part of mealtime. 

3. Schedule times for drinking water.

Reserve specific times during the day where your child should be sipping water. This may include a cup of water: 

  • After they wake up in the morning 
  • During each meal
  • After naptime
  • Before bedtime 

Make sure they always have a bottle available so that they can drink water from it throughout the day.

4. Remove all sugary drinks from your home.

Your child will drink only water when they have no other option. Having sweetened drinks easily accessible will make it unlikely that they will reach for plain water. Reduce their options by eliminating all sugary drinks from your kitchen and refrigerator. That way they will only have water to drink when they feel thirsty.

5. Give them lots of fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables are also a good source of water. You can try to boost your kids’ hydration by getting them to eat water-rich foods, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, lettuce, watermelon, and strawberries.

6. Try frozen fruits.

To add flavor to plain water, put in frozen fruit instead of ice cubes. You can either buy fresh fruit and freeze it or buy it frozen. Prepare bite-size pieces of frozen fruit so that your child can grab and eat it easily.

7. Make the water look attractive.

Make plain water visually appealing by adding strawberries, blueberries,  orange peels, mint, or strawberry tops.

8. Choose a colorful bottle.

Your child may be more likely to reach for their water bottle if it’s a colorful one. Buy it yourself or let your child select one. Encourage them to drink water from it throughout the day.

9. Mix juice with water.

If your child just loves fruit juices, dilute them with water and then serve your kid. You can also freeze juices in an ice tray and add the cubes to plain water.

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References
Clopton J. Not Just One Reason Kids Don't Drink Enough Water. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/children/news/20190729/not-just-one-reason-kids-dont-drink-enough-water#

Mayo Clinic. Sick Baby? When to Seek Medical Attention. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/healthy-baby/art-20047793

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