How To Make Water a More Appealing Drink for Kids

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University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children'sExperts in Children's Health
young girl in pink top drinking glass of water with trees in the background

Do your children drink enough water? According to a study in American Journal of Public Health, more than half of U.S. children and adolescents are not adequately hydrated, meaning they probably don’t drink enough water. This could have serious consequences for their health and development.

Why Water Is Worth It

Kids need to drink water for many reasons. “Water helps maintain healthy circulation and metabolism,” says UH Rainbow pediatrician Lauren Beene, MD. “It also helps regulate body temperature and fosters waste removal. Not getting enough water can result in headaches, irritability, poor physical performance and reduced cognitive function. Water also promotes healthy teeth, especially when the water contains fluoride.”

Age, physical activity and outside temperature all impact how much water your child should drink each day. During normal daily activity, kids should drink water when thirsty and eat a balanced diet to stay hydrated.

Make Water Fun

You can teach your kids to choose water over other beverages by taking steps to make drinking it fun. Try these tips from Dr. Beene:

  • For younger children, serve water in colorful glasses with fun straws.
  • Shop for a new water bottle that is easy for your child to hold. Let your child pick the design.
  • Liven up water by adding a slice of citrus fruit or watermelon.
  • Add a little fruit juice to enhance the flavor.
  • Use frozen fruit instead of ice cubes or freeze fruit in ice cube trays with water.
  • If your children like carbonation, give them sparkling mineral water.
  • Freeze water in bottles to keep water cold longer on hot days.

If all else fails, let water be the only choice during meals, snacks and at play. And consider teaching your kids by example and drink more water yourself.

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University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital provides expert pediatric care for infants, children and adolescents. With expertise in 16 medical and 12 surgical specialties, our team of doctors, nurses and other clinical staff has experience in diagnosing and treating children for a range of medical issues, from common childhood illnesses to complex conditions. Learn more about the nationally recognized pediatric medical care at UH Rainbow Babies.

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