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Water is crucial to a child's health. It hydrates, helps regulate body temperature, and helps prevent constipation and urinary tract infections – all without adding calories or sugar to the diet. But what if your child doesn't like water? See how other parents got their kids to drink up.
Make it available
When I think my child is thirsty, I hand her a water bottle. She often says she isn't thirsty, but I ask her to drink five sips. Half the time she ends up drinking way more than that. Once she starts, she realizes she is thirsty after all.
I always leave a sippy cup with water where my child can reach it so when she does get thirsty, she sees the cup and drinks. If she's thirsty, she has no choice but to drink the water.
Make it fun
My child loves drinking ice water through a straw. I think he loves the cold feeling in his mouth and the sound of the ice clinking in the cup.
My toddler wouldn't drink plain water for the longest time. So we bought that fizzy fruit-flavored water for her and mixed it with 3/4 water and weaned her onto regular water. Now she loves it!
Our city water has a bad taste, so I mix the smallest amount of juice with my daughter's water and she's none the wiser. It gives it a hint of flavor but is still 90 percent water!
You might also try putting a little lemon wedge or squeezing a little bit of fresh orange into it.
Use a special cup
When my daughter was almost 2, she fell in love with princesses. We found BPA-free plastic sparkly goblets and told her she can only use them to drink "princess water," which is just filtered water. Whenever we say, "Do you want princess water?" she always says yes so she can use the glasses. She is now 3 and it still works!
Have them pick out their own special cup to put it in. Also, maybe have a special straw to use. The more they have ownership in the process, the better. I have seen that the more I drink water, the more my 4-year-old will too!
My 4-year-old drinks water from a jaunty bright-blue water bottle. They are sold with fun kid-friendly prints of animals, aliens, etc. and even have sippy nipples. At home, I encourage her to drink to a certain level on her ladybug glass.
Give them their independence
My 20-month-old loves to drink water out of a water bottle like a big girl. We buy her the small 10-ounce water bottles with sport sippy tops so she can drink it all on her own.
We bought a water dispenser and put it on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. When I showed it to my 4-year-old, you would have thought I had pronounced him king of the world. He can get water now whenever he wants it without asking. And he shows everyone who walks into our house that he can get his own drink – by himself!
Limit the options
Start early and don't put a lot of options in your home. We have water, milk, and one type of juice (watered down 1/3 juice, 2/3 water) in our house at a time.
We alternate milk, water, and juice throughout the day. (We dilute the juice 50/50 with water.) The kids are not allowed to get the next beverage until their cup is empty. Sometimes they make it into a game of who can finish their water the fastest.
I make my son drink a glass of water before getting a different beverage. Not a big glass, just 4 to 6 ounces. He has a little control then. He feels like he is in charge because he decides when to drink it and we don't have battles.