Summer is finally here! That means it’s time for fun in the sun, longer days, and energetic, thirsty kids. When your kids are parched, make sure they reach for healthy water rather than soda or drink mixes.
There’s nothing better for thirst – or better for their bodies – than cool, clear, healthy water. Dr. Drake and our dental team would like to offer you some ways to help keep your kids hydrated this summer.
Why a Hydrated Smile is Best
During the hot summer months, it is especially important for kids to drink enough water to stay well-hydrated. If a child becomes dehydrated, then their mouth may not be able to produce enough saliva to keep itself lubricated and healthy. Saliva is important in helping flush food particles from their teeth and preventing decay.
Just the act of drinking water washes debris and decay-causing acids from the mouth. So just by guzzling a cup or bottle of water, kids are cleaning their teeth and helping keep disease away.
Keep Soda Out of the House
Kids, however, are notorious for wanting a drink other than water. The fun, trendy packaging of carbonated beverages and sweet, sugary drinks, along with the liquids’ bright colors, pull kids in like a magnet.
What kid in their right mind wouldn’t pick a syrupy drink (containing a whopping five percent juice!) over boring, colorless water? Especially when water doesn’t have nearly the marketing behind it that some manufactured drinks do?
As parents and caregivers, however, we have to make water more appealing to kids. The first, and probably the most critical step, is to avoid having soda and those other drinks around the house.
Just. Don’t. Buy. It.
When kids want a drink, offer them water. Period. They may balk at first, but pretty soon they’ll get used to asking for it. It will become second nature.
Make Water Fun
To help your efforts, make drinking water more fun. Turn it into something that kids can’t resist doing. If drinking water gives them satisfaction, they’ll be more likely to do it.
Buy some colorful and fun cups or bottles. Cartoon characters, movie themes, and animals are always a hit with kids. Or take them to the store with you and let them pick out one or two containers that they can call their own. You might even want to make each child responsible for washing and drying their own cup.
For another option, go to a craft store or big box store and pick up some plain white cups along with markers or non-toxic paint. Let your kids have fun decorating their cups, using their imagination and creativity to create their own works of art.
Find some fun and festive straws as well – either at the grocery or on online. Colorful, bendy, looping straws will capture kids’ attention and make drinking fun.
Lastly, add ice to your kids’ water for a little bit of fun. Kids love ice and it will encourage them to drink more water. You can find kid-attractive ice trays that make ice in fun shapes and designs or even letters and numbers for a sneaky educational touch.
If you’re feeling adventurous, add just a hint of food coloring to ice trays to create cubes with a fun, cheery tint.
Fruit Can Boost Kids’ Water Intake
Many fruits are excellent sources of water. Watermelon, strawberries, peaches, cantaloupe, pineapple, and even grapefruit all contain high amounts of water. If kids want a healthy snack, offer them these fruits as an alternative to junk food.
Cut the fruit into kid-friendly slices and store in single-serving plastic bags in the fridge. Make them handy and convenient for kids to grab when they want to munch on something.
Just as with soda, don’t buy empty-calorie foods like chips and cookies. If they’re not around, your kids can’t eat them. Get kids in the habit of noshing on fruit or veggies when they want a snack.
They’ll satisfy their hunger, take in more water, and get healthy servings of vitamins and minerals all at the same time.
Set Your Child Up For Future Health
Make water (and all facets of good nutrition) an integral part of your child’s daily routine at an early age.
The key is planning ahead to make drinking water something that your child sees as fun and wants to do.
Having natural, healthy water readily available – without the option of soda or other sweet drinks – will make it much easier for kids to take in enough each day to stay healthy and keep a bright smile!