Everyone, especially kids and teens, should choose to drink more water more often. Drinking water is a fundamental part of living a healthy lifestyle. It helps prevent dehydration, keeps your body temperature in check, supports digestion, and so much more. However, research has shown that over 50 percent of American kids ages 6 to 19 years old are inadequately hydrated.
With so many soda and juice options available, some kids might find water boring by comparison. And the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion reports that sugary drinks are the top source of added sugars for all Americans and the single largest source of calories for teens ages 14 to 18.
These unhealthy drinks have larger consequences, as studies have shown that children who drink less water also tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables, eat more fast food, and get less physical activity. It’s time to commit to healthier hydration. After all, one good habit often leads to another, and establishing healthy habits at an early age can have lifelong benefits!
Here’s how you can get your kids excited about drinking water, which will help them learn the importance of establishing healthy habits to maintain throughout their lives.
Let kids choose
Let your kids choose their own reusable water bottle. It will help give them a sense of ownership over their drinking habits.
Lead by example
Kids are constantly watching and listening to their parents, even if it doesn’t always seem like it. Use this power to your advantage to instill healthy habits in your children. Make sure they see you drinking water! Carry a bottle around with you and choose water over other sugar-sweetened beverages.
Have them set goals
Make it a family affair! Have everyone in the family set daily goals for drinking water and then compete for daily, weekly, and monthly winners.
Infuse your water
Infusing fruit into water makes for a sweet treat and is a great alternative to sugary sodas and juices. Kids can customize their own drinks with berries, oranges, lemons, and mint. This makes drinking water less boring too!
The bottom line
When you help your kids choose water over sugary drinks, they will learn to make smart choices, be independent, and seek out healthy foods.
Leslie Boggs, President, National Parent Teacher Association. [email protected]