You may think that offering sweetened drinks is the only way to get your toddler to drink fluids but it isn’t. Here are seven tips that dietitians recommend you try that will help you get your toddler to drink water.
1 Role model
Children mimic behaviour so make sure that you regularly drink water to quench your thirst. They will mirror your behaviour especially “if there is nothing else on offer,” says dietitian Lauren O’Conner.
Dietitian Anne Danahy agrees that “children are influenced by what grown-ups around them drink” so make sure that water is your first choice of beverage.
Your child’s body is at least 70% water which forms the basis for their blood, digestive juices, sweat and stools. It’s imperative to establish good drinking habits early.
2 Have a cool looking bottle handy
Head to the supermarket and let your children choose a colourful bottle, cup or suitable drinking vessel. “Having one around is handy” says dietitian Holly. Encourage them to drink from it throughout the day.
Louise from Dietitian’s Lifesays ‘if it’s in a nice drink bottle, they are more likely to have water”. I couldn’t agree more. My toddler enjoys drinking from her bright coloured bottle with a straw which she chose herself.
Dietitian Paula Hallam suggests trying a bottle with a fruit infuser in the middle which can be visually appealing to children too.
3 Add frozen fruit
Dietitian Christine Kenny adds frozen berries and lemon to water. This automatically creates a fabulous burst of colour and fruity flavours without any added sugar.
I recommend adding a jug of water with added fruit, lemon or cucumber curls as a centrepiece to your dining table. This then becomes a visual reminder to drink water.
4 Add left-over strawberry tops or orange peels
Stemming from the fruity idea above you will love this great tip.
Dietitian Lauren Harris-Pincus adds leftover strawberry tops and orange peels to water. A great way to get creative and reduce wastage in the kitchen too.
Children need adequate fluids to help them regulate their body temperature. Finding creative ways to get kids enjoying the water is therefore important and helps them avoid dehydration and meet daily requirements.
5 Use a Fun Straw
Dietitians Dara & Erin recommend using fun straws to encourage children to drink. These animal curly straws look fun and just right for the job.
6 Order milk or carbonated water
Canadian registered dietitian Kate Chury recommends limiting which fluids are available in your home. It’s either water or milk for her kids.
At restaurants, she orders milk or carbonated water with a lime wedge.
Dietitian Priya Tew agrees and offers fizzy water or squash once a day before switching to milk and water.
These are great tips if you are looking for ways to get your toddler to drink water.
7 Have a Tea party
Did you know that your toddler also needs water to fight infection? Water is found in your child’s lymph, a fluid that forms part of their immune system. Another reason to encourage plenty of fluids.
As a final tip to get your toddler drinking water, whenever you make yourself a cup of tea, offer them one too but instead of tea, pour water into your child’s cup.
My daughter loves playing along to this game and enjoys sharing this ‘grown-up’ moment with me.
But, if your toddler is refusing to drink water, don’t despair.
You can offer diluted fruit juice but do remember to dilute it one part to ten parts water and offer it with meals.
This helps prevent tooth decay and ensures that little tums don’t get too full to eat their meal.
What to do next?
For further advice or a bespoke consultation with a private paediatric dietitian book a free initial consultation here.
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