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Getting Your Kids To Drink More Water In Four Easy Steps


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.

Getting Your Kids To Drink More Water In Four Easy Steps. Here's 4 tips to help your kids get enough water each day.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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?

Related posts:

Flavored Water for Kids!

Getting Your Kids To Drink More Water In Four Easy Steps. Here's 4 tips to help your kids get enough water each day.

Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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People should drink half their body weight in ounces to rehydrate themselves. 100 punds = 50 ounces of water. I think I read that in the PH Miracle…I am not sure. But it seems to be an easy wway for people to remember!

Thank you for sharing this important topic with us. I’m happy your son talked with you and is going to be doing better now. My one daughter doesn’t like to share info with me and she’s 12 also. She started her period last year and for this whole year she will barely let me know it even happens to her, she is very discreet about it. This is good and not good of course, I had many problems with mine growing up and want to make sure she has an easier time then I did. Anyhow about the water in our house. My kids drink it plenty thru the day. The get milk at breakfast and dinner and a juice box at lunch. Anytime between those it’s only water in the house, sometimes lemonade in the summer. I made sure to start this while they were very young so theirs no questions asked and no complaints. In their friends houses though, boy they load the kids up on pop by the cans for these kids and sugary drinks, my kids know to ask for water at those houses. My nieces don’t drink anything but water/milk they won’t even touch juice/pop if offered. I think you gave plenty of examples for us but another to include is if they see us drinking water it will make it easier for them to drink water also. My other thought is about the using the bathrooms at school. My girls in the middle school only get two bathroom passes a week and that’s it. They expect them to go at lunchtime and in between classes when theirs no time. So many days my girls hold it in everyday till they get home, which I think is crazy and not healthy. I’m going to make a point to talk to the principal about this when I’m in there again. I’ve explained to my girls about how unhealthy it is for their bodies/ kidneys/bladders to do this but they say it’s out of their hands it’s the RULES!! School use to be so easy back in my day. So thanks again Amy for this information.

Great article. I’m so glad your son is okay! I get the boys their own fun water bottle and we try to fill it up every morning. It makes it fun for them to drink from, and the sip on it all morning. Our oldest son goes to school and parents buy bottles of water and the teaher sets them on their desk every morning and all day. They drink as much as they want, which I’m so thankful for. Love your blog!

My best advice is to be the example! Once I started filling my big water bottle every day and drinking from it, my 3 and 1 year wanted to drink more water, too! Now they have their own little water bottles and we are all drinking much more.

Good tip Gwen, I haven’t read the pH miracle yet.
Thanks for sharing Dawn, as always- Great ideas!
So true! Erica is famous for snagging drinks out of my bottle.. If I have some, she wants some too.

That poor boy! 🙁 I’m glad that he is alright though.

One thing that works at our house for getting my kids to drink water is to have thermos water bottles (we have funtainers) that the kids have with them all the time, and the only thing we ever put in those bottles is water. Juice, milk, etc. go in our cups/glasses. The bottles are only for water. The other thing that helps is for them to see me drinking water. I bring my water bottle wherever I go.

I loved your husbands idea on the pioneer trek this summer to get the teenagers to drink more water. He had them put a mark on their bottle each time they finished drinking a bottle and challenged them to drink a certain number. I have used that idea at home for myself and my kids with a dry erase marker so it is easy to start again each day.

I try and try to get mine to drink water, it is like pulling teeth! I have 13 and 15 year old. I have the fun looking cups, tried to flavor the water and I have to fight them to drink! I dont want to give up but I am very close.

When my kids ask for a drink, I say sure and either get them a glass to get their own water or get them the water! We do not EVER buy soda and very little juice, it is milk and water at our house!

I only send water with lunch and set only water out with dinner..Honest kids if it’s a treat day (usually 2 Fridays a month.) But that’s it. We no longer buy full strength fruit juice,haven’t bough soda for years, or sports drinks. As a group fitness trainer, I know those things are simply not necessary for the average person. Milk and smoothies are breakfast or after school snack options so that I can control what is in them and make them organic. As the kids get older, if you don’t buy it, they will have to use their own money to do so. That right there will limit their intake of the “bad stuff.”