17 July 2007

Getting your toddler to drink water

Abel's found a clever way to encourage his son to drink water:

My wife and I always have problems getting our 1.5 year-old son to drink water, especially from a sipper. But I have a method that has never failed to work.

Here's what we do. We use a normal cup and a straw (cut it if it's too long). We let our son use the straw to drink from the cup. If he still refuses, I'll make the "ahhhh" sound to indicate the satisfaction of drinking water. My son will drink and make the sound to imitate me. The result? He drinks without making the fuss.

The details of my kids' toddlerhoods are getting fuzzy (which is scary considering my youngest child is only four), but I recall water getting a whole lot more attractive after I made juice a once-a-day treat, and milk the "with meals" drink. We continue this today -- we rarely have soda or flavored drinks in the house, so the only between-meals drink option is water.

Related:
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Make healthy snacks easiest to grab

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my kids have always drank water -even as babies. i just never gave them juice. there's no point, unless they need the calories. they occasionally have it now, but still water is our first beverage of choice.

I've found that our daughter likes water, but not if it's ice cold. Give her a sip of that, and she'll spit it back out. She'll guzzle down lukewarm or even cool water with no problems. Maybe the cold water is just too cold.

My two year old will drink water, but he prefers milk and orange juice. But, he was really good at drinking water on a recent camping trip. We bought our two older kids, kid sized camel backs http://www.rei.com/product/733675 from REI for when we were hiking and in turned out that our youngest loved them as well. So I guess we just need to have him carry his water on his back :)

My youngest is 15 months old and I have held out with the juice as much as possible. His first drink of choice is water. I offered juice to my other 2 way too early, and naturally they liked it. (6 mo. with my youngest for constipation) My ped advised me not to give them juice, so water in their special water bottles has become the beverage of choice, but they still go gaga over a juice box if they can their hands on one!

My youngest is 15 months old and I have held out with the juice as much as possible. His first drink of choice is water. I offered juice to my other 2 way too early, and naturally they liked it. (6 mo. with my youngest for constipation) My ped advised me not to give them juice, so water in their special water bottles has become the beverage of choice, but they still go gaga over a juice box if they can their hands on one!

Getting my 2 1/2 yr. old daughter to drink water was becoming harder and harder since she became exposed to juice. However, I found kid sized bottled water w/ child safe sport caps. It even has fluoride added! Now, she asks for water more than juice or milk and my 9 mos. old son can drink out of them too!! The only drawback is that the child safe lids are impossible to remove, which means that the bottles are single use only, but it's worth it to me since my daughter is drinking several a day.

I find that if I offer water in the car they'll drink it. I don't really know why, maybe it's the enclosed space and no options? Or it's something to do when they get bored of bickering?

I have the exact opposite problem. My daughter is small and needs the calories from milk or juice but LOVES water. She will guzzle water all day long, if I let her. Of course, I also love water so maybe it is genetic. And, no, neither one of us is diabetic, as the Grandmas like to think.

She especially loves to drink from straws and the Camelbaks (or other hydration systems).

Juice isn't even offered in our house -- it's about as nutritious as candy. Milk with meals and water any other time -- he likes it with ice usually.

Saturday morning he gets to drink his "coffee" with dad though. About a tablespoon each of coffee and milk in a demitasse cup so it looks like a mini version of my coffee cup.

Straws increase water consumption at our house, too. We have some crazy reusable straws (the hard plastic kind) that are reserved for water only and crazy straw water bottles, too.

My most recent innovation in the water-drinking area is to get them to pour a glass of water from a small pitcher for everyone at mealtimes. Everyone has water first before soymilk or calcium-rich orange juice.

Straws increase water consumption at our house, too. We have some crazy reusable straws (the hard plastic kind) that are reserved for water only and crazy straw water bottles, too.

My most recent innovation in the water-drinking area is to get them to pour a glass of water from a small pitcher for everyone at mealtimes. Everyone has water first before soymilk or calcium-rich orange juice.

I wouldn't equate reasonable consumption of 100% fruit juice with candy. There was recently a study showing 4 ounces of juice a day is healthy and a good source of nutrients: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/40833.php

That said, my 22 month old daughter is a water lover and always has been. The vessel isn't terribly important, but when I am worried about her hydration, she will always drink more if it's from my cup. Perhaps 3 days a week, she'll ask for orange juice (Omega 3 enriched), and drink a couple of ounces. I actually have much the same problem as Liz - teeny tiny kid who has never been much into eating or drinking anything substantial.

I probably shouldn't admit this, but when we rented a vacation house with several friends a few months ago, the kids discovered the shotglasses. We gave them water in the shotglasses which delighted them to no end. I'll still give my daughter (nearly three now) water in a shotglass if I'm having trouble getting her to drink (water), and she'll usually knock back three or four, at least.

I love the camelback idea given here.

As a kid who grew up drinking Kool-Aid, I have no problem whatsoever with my daughter drinking 100% fruit juice once or twice a day, as long as it doesn't start replacing food.

I bought a Brita water dispenser (the big kind with a spout on the side) and put it in the fridge. The kids can pour their own water and drink a lot more of it.
I also let each of them pick out a Sigg water bottle (from www.reusablebags.com) and fill them almost every time we leave the house. Of course I bought some for mom and dad too, and I find that I also drink more water if I keep my bottle topped off.

Now my problem is getting my son to keep drinking milk. He associates milk with his sippy cup, and will drink only water from a "big kid cup". At what age can kids disassociate the beverage from the container?

My twins are 23 months old, and since I started them on sippy cups, they have had nothing other than water in a sippy cup 99% of the time. Ocassionally we will mix about an ounce of juice or something we are drinking- tea, lemonade, with the rest of the cup being water, so it is "barely" flavored.
Another GOOD option is to get the "emergen-C" flavored vitamin C packets that you mix with water, pour it in, shake it up, they have a good dose of vit-C and it helpos the water absorption as well.

As for milk- once I weaned them at about 15 months from the breast, they don't drink any milk at all- unless it is cooked in mashed potatoes or if I am feeding them some cereal or something. Maybe a couple of times a month they get a little soy milk (this is a treat)-- there are way too many hormones and other bad things in milk and they don't even digest it well enough this young to be drinking it. This is such a huge myth- they NEED the water- they can get the calcium and other \nutrients that people think they are getting from milk much much better from the foods they should be eating anyway- broccoli has way more calcium than milk! Even giving them cheese (real cheddar, not the processed cheese food slices)

I still think water is the best for toddlers. I serve my son limited juices and other flavored drinks. I have friends who serve their children with juices and they end up rejecting water. Because juices are tastier.

My 19-month-old is totally fine with water as a drinking option -- as long as it's in something that looks like a "big kid" vessel, like a bottle with a sport top. I held off on juice with all three of my kids for as long as possible, so they wouldn't get too attached. The baby only gets juice to help with constipation (watered-down pear juice, usually), but we try to just make lots of fruit available.

As for the older boys (7 and almost 5), they think the naturally-flavored seltzer water my husband drinks is just the bunnies, so I let them each choose their favorite flavors of Canfield's (local brand in the Chicago area, with no sweeteners or anything) and keep plenty of it in the fridge. That's my juice alternative, and it works well.

Ah! This sounds helpful, as 15mo daughter curls her nose in distaste at water, unless extremely thirsty. We will try a straw as you suggest!
I blog more on toddler feeding habits at my site http://www.motheratlarge.com

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