8 Ways to Help Kids Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is key to staying healthy. We tell ourselves and our little ones to drink plenty of water, but it can still be a struggle—our busy schedules mean we often forget to fill up our bottles. Add in a finicky kiddo and proper hydration becomes even more of a challenge. So, what can we parents do to ensure our children stay hydrated? We asked kids’ dietitian Kacie Barnes, MCN, RDN, LD (@mamaknowsnutrition) to help get the ideas flowing.
1. But First, Water
Unsurprisingly, water is your best bet when it comes to hydration. If that’s not cutting it for your kiddo, Barnes suggests “flavoring a bottle or pitcher of water with sliced fruit (strawberries, oranges, and cucumbers work great).”
2. Juice, Too
100% juice, to be specific. Barnes says this “can be a great, hydrating option.” She suggests “diluting it a little bit with water, when possible, just for the sake of sugar content. Aim for about 4 ounces of juice daily if they are over 2 years old (limit/avoid under 2).”
3. Check the Water Temp
“Some kids have strong preferences over the temperature of their water.” Barnes tells us. Whether it’s ice cold, room temperature, with or without ice, knowing your kid’s preferences will help encourage hydration.
4. Try Smoothies & Popsicles
An easy way to increase water intake is to serve some kid-friendly treats that incorporate liquids. Barnes suggests smoothies and popsicles as “fun and exciting ways for kids to hydrate.”
5. Get a Fun Water Bottle or Straw
Another way to make hydrating fun is to let your little one pick out a water bottle with their favorite animal or character on it. They’re sure to want to keep that bottle on hand. A silly reusable straw will encourage liquid intake, too!
6. Serve Fruits & Veggies
While not the same as drinking a good old-fashioned glass of water, Barnes notes, “fruits and veggies do really help! And some fruits and veggies are composed primarily of water.”
- Cucumber (96%)
- Watermelon (92%)
- Tomatoes (95%)
- Strawberries (92%)
- Cantaloupe (92%)
- Pineapple (87%)
- Lettuce (95%)
Again, she says, “They aren’t a replacement for fluids, but if your kids are eating those types of foods in addition to taking in fluids, these foods will definitely help them meet their hydration needs.”
7. When in Doubt, Pouch
Once Upon a Farm pouches can be very hydrating, especially ones that contain those fruits and veggies high in water content, Barnes says. Try the Strawberry Banana Swirl Dairy-Free Smoothie or the Berry Berry Dairy-Free Smoothie!
8. Always Model Good Behavior
Our little ones are always looking to us for guidance. That’s why modeling healthy behavior is a key part of parenting. This includes practicing proper hydration. So, it’s time to refill that water bottle—and your kiddo’s bottle, too!
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