Summer is so fun. Sometimes too fun. When your kids are having such a blast they forget to drink water in the heat, dehydration can slow them down more than they realize.
The answer is, as you know, to rehydrate. But how do you get your kids to drink more water when they never want to slow down or hold a bottle of it as they play? Most moms have the same question, and thankfully there are ways to stay on top of it without tampering with the summer excitement. Here are six creative ways to make staying hydrated fun for kids this summer.
1. Start off Strong
Researchers at Virginia Tech suggest about 80 percent of school-age kids start the day mildly dehydrated. Of those kids not actively encouraged to drink water regularly, 70 percent stay dehydrated. Start your little ones off right by giving them fruit-infused water with breakfast.
First, let your kids each choose one piece of fruit every time you’re at the grocery store or farmers’ market. Each morning, slice a small piece of the fruit and drop it in their water. Not only does this add a little fun for the taste buds, but it also offers a small incentive: anyone who finishes their water is allowed to gobble up the fruit! Once your child finishes this fruity beverage, let them choose fresh herbs for even more interesting flavors the next day.
Starting the day strong ensures your child won’t suffer diminishing cognitive, social, or even physical abilities that, as Virginia Tech reports, are common in youngsters who don’t eventually incorporate water into their diets.
2. Include It in Ingredients Lists
As you prepare snacks and meals, include foods that have a high water content. You won’t have to look hard for these feel-good foods; many are in season during the warm months. Watermelon, grapefruit, cantaloupe, and strawberries consist of over 90 percent water, so start and end each meal with snackable liquids like these. Between them, serve veggies like cucumber, zucchini, radish, and celery for an even more potent source of water—over 95 percent, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
Want a crunchy snack that’ll hydrate older kids and cool them down at the same time? Pop some grapes in the freezer and offer them up during the hottest part of the day, when the risk of dehydration is at its highest.
3. Accessorize It
Staying hydrated doesn’t have to be a chore. Turn your kids’ water routine into self-expression by investing in a cute handmade water bottle carrier. If you’re crafty, make one yourself out of an upcycled wipes container. Imagine how much your child would drink if she even had a hand in crafting or decorating her new accessory. Drinking enough water has never been so cute.
4. Make It a Game
Drinking games aren’t just for adults. In fact, if you make a (water) drinking game to go along with your family’s favorite TV show, the whole family can participate—and have fun cooling off together. Here’s how.
First, have everyone write a list of the most characteristic things the characters are known for. For example, it could be Kramer’s famous slide-through-the-door from Seinfeld, or Simon Cowell’s eye-rolling. The longer your list is, the better. Next, give everyone a full glass of slightly chilled water. Every time something on the list happens on screen, everyone takes a sip.
5. Make It Pretty
Freeze ice in beautiful shapes with ice molds, or color your kids’ water with natural fruit and veggie extract after juicing a household favorite. For example, just a few drops of that super concentrated red cabbage juice won’t flavor your child’s water, but he’ll enjoy its fun new purple hue. Toss in a couple of those aesthetically appealing ice cubes, stick a wacky straw in the cup, and you’ve got even more visual incentives to get kids to drink more water.
6. Visualize It
Providing kids water, frequent play breaks, and similar encouragement just isn’t enough sometimes. Certain kids gravitate more toward socializing or switching activities when they tire out. So ditch the lecture and motivate them with a simple science experiment.
Start by cutting a potato in half and placing each half flat-side down in a small dish of water. Add a tablespoon of salt to the water of one dish, but not the other. Check on your twin tots in three hours. What do they see? Why did the salty potato shrivel? Let your kids deduce what lesson this potato experiment might teach us about their own bodies and how they can keep from “shriveling.”
Keeping a few tricks up your sleeve is the perfect way to keep kids hydrated this (and every) season. Tell us your kid-friendly hydration tips on Twitter!
Images source: Bethany Johnson
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.
Why It’s Good
Kids can have a hard time remembering to drink extra water during the summer months when the risk of dehydration is at its highest. After all, who has time to carry a full bottle of it when there's so much fun to be had? But you'll feel good knowing you're prepared with a few tricks up your sleeve to make staying hydrated fun for kids.