Fi Jamieson-Folland highlights the 4 steps to supporting your kids drink more water
Does this seem like a ‘yeah, right?’ concept for you? If yes, this is for you…
Leading by example, being indirect about it (by this I’m not meaning ‘sneaky’; check out step 1 below), and keeping it light and breezy have been winners that I’ve seen in action by on-to-it-parents over the 20+yrs I’ve been working with kids.
And it seems that the skills needed for healthy-eating guidance (patience, commitment, patience, firmness, patience, and did I mention patience?) are those needed for hydration-guidance.
By the way – I’m often asked how much is ideal for kids to be drinking each day? All things being equal (which they never are! More on this in step 4 below) whilst we as adults need around 1.5 litres a day; 5 yr olds need 5-6 cups a day, and 11 yr olds closer to 7-8 cups.
Here are the 4 steps many of my clients have found to be effective when it comes to supporting their kids to keep hydrated –
- Make fluid-rich foods easy to access – examples include watermelon chunks rather than candies; home-made ice blocks with freshly squeezed orange juice and half water instead of commercial ice creams, cucumber + carrot sticks rather than rice crackers. and pre-soaked sunflower seeds + raisins instead of salted or roasted nuts + dried fruits.
- Lead by example – when kids see us drinking water – they do too. Simple as that! It may not happen overnight…although it will happen…when we’re persistent, and follow this principle ourselves – regardless of the results we see around us.
And a word on what counts as ‘water’ – we all know that sodas, fizzy drinks, fruit juices, cordials, tea, coffee etc don’t count; although I realize that kids can be very persuasive – especially when our guard is lowered or we’re feeling less than resourceful. Stick to it; it’ll pay off.
- Variety is vital – when we focus on making it interesting to drink the fluid we’re providing we get to take the emphasis away from a nag to something fun and new. Add sliced fruits like strawberry, frozen berries, a squeeze of lemon/lime and a sprig of fresh peppermint leaves or even slices of cucumber.
- Adjust according to conditions – so it’s wise to increase our daily intake when in air conditioning, tired or traveling a lot, it’s an especially dry day, after lots of exercise, and eating salty or sweet foods (and coffee! Although kids are unlikely to be drinking coffee!)
Take away – Create a family game – have a target to reach for each family member, and display this on the fridge so everyone can see how everyone else is going. Focusing on the fun side can be an effective way to achieve the goal.
I realize adjusting habits can be challenging – and I’d love to hear about your journey…there may be a suggestion I can make to make a tweak here or there. And a challenge shared, is a challenge halved!
So drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’d love to hear from you ☺
Fi Jamieson-Folland D.O, is a Lifestyle Consultant, with over 20 years experience in Europe, Asia and New Zealand as a qualified osteopath, educator, writer, certified raw vegan gluten-free chef, speaker, Health Ambassador and health mentor. She lives in NZ and Indonesia with her husband Chris, relishing an outdoor lifestyle and time with family and friends.