My 12 year old does not divulge any personal details about his life, unless he is specifically asked. Even then, the right question must be asked for him to share. There is nothing secretive about him, he is just by nature, a private person.
About 10 days ago, he had an indoor soccer game. I noticed he took an extra long time using the bathroom. He came out and we walked to the car. He wasn’t speaking, which was normal. I was prompted to ask him if he was feeling alright. Tears welled up in his face and he told me he noticed blood in his urine and his back hurt. At first I was mad. I truly believe he would not have offered that information without me asking for it. After the initial lecture on how I need to know these things, we quickly drove home to call the doctor.
To make a long story short, the poor child had an infection. Luckily there were no kidney stones (we checked). He admitted to his pediatrician that he does not drink water and he doesn’t go to the bathroom the entire day he is at school. The pediatrician informed us this is likely to blame for the infection, and instructed him to drink a few tall bottles of water each day, and use the bathroom at least twice while he is at school.
Lesson learned, the hard way. So, as we continue through the alphabet, the letter D is for DRINK WATER! Here are 4 easy steps to getting your kids to drink more water.
- Emphasize WATER. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines emphasize that we drink more water instead of sugary drinks. The best way to make this happen is not to have the sugary drinks available to your children. People I interview that exhibit extraordinary healthy lifestyles have mentioned there were no soft drinks or sugar drinks in their home growing up. Talk to your kids about the importance of water as part of their diet, and do not accepting inferior beverages as a substitute.
- Give them access. Do your kids have their own water bottles? Their own cups? Do they know how to get a drink by themselves? This can be taught at a very young age. Most toddlers that visit my home LOVE to drink water because we have the little dispenser on the front of the fridge. They love to do this themselves.
- Explain the pee test to your kids. I had been misled to believe my children would simply drink when they were thirsty. Apparently that doesn’t apply to 6th graders. The newest recommendations for the amount of water we drink, is to check the color of your pee. Dark.. drink more. Light…good to go!
- Flavor it up. Lot’s of people, including adults, prefer flavored water. There is nothing wrong with this. Add a squeeze of lemon, a drop of mint, or a handful of frozen cherries to their water. Delicious!
We are so lucky to have access to clean water. I was just reading this morning, that 1 billion people do not. It’s these things we think are mundane that we should be truly grateful for today.
Since we do have access to clean water, any other ideas on how you get your kids to drink more?