Everyone who reads my blog, knows my mother is now pretty much bedridden after a stroke, but she still knows what she likes and what she doesn’t. I spent my whole childhood being told that I needed to drink more water, and even my own kids have been at the sharp end of the grandparental water police, but there she is, now only eating and drinking what she likes, and not what she thinks is good for her, and unless it’s a glass also filled with ice, water isn’t ever going to be her go to drink in future.
I think if we’re realistic, we all relate water to our mother figures and being coerced into drinking something we’d rather not. I was determined not to be part of the water police when my kids were growing up, but I still wanted them to take in as much of the good stuff without too much sugar being added.
It started one breakfast time, when my kids got up, poured glasses of milk, gulped them down and left for school. Milk turns to food in the stomach, so technically, they’d had nothing to drink, and no water. I couldn’t blame them though, as straight from the tap, water tastes pretty horrible.
Here are my tips to getting the water intake up.
1 – Drink it yourself.
Our kids often end up being mini versions of ourselves. If we want them to drink water, we have to be a good example and drink it ourselves. My morning drink of choice used to be a diet soda, so I cut that one out and started having a glass of water with lots of ice while the kids were still at home, and it’s satisfying on a hot day, but doesn’t tickle my taste buds at all.
2 – Cool bottles.
When sports bottles began to become popular among kids, I paid attention. It might cost me £10, but with the right bottle, my kids would take bottles of water out with them as they play with their pals, for football sessions, and just to look cool. Don’t underestimate the power of cool…..
3 – Ask schools to help.
Our local schools were very proactive. They banned soda and high sugar drinks, and only allowed kids to have water bottles on their desks, to sip from during lessons. Being able to have a drink during class was a huge proactive campaign that worked a treat. More schools should do this.
4 – Chart incentives.
With my middle child with learning difficulties, chart incentives worked great. I pinched the idea from school and created a water chart based on glasses of water a day. This is how we worked it.
- One glass of water a day for 7 days = new pencil.
- Two glasses of water a day for 7 days = pick a sweetie from the shop.
- Three glasses of water a day for 7 days = movie night with mum and dad.
5 – Jazz it up.
There are lots of ways to do this. Some of the following are my favourites.
- Add fruit for an infusion. Lemon and lime slices, berries or much more.
- Add sugar-free cordial to disguise the taste.
6 – Make it a smoothie.
There are different opinions on this, but mine is that any water is more beneficial than no water. I love to take blueberries, strawberries, mango, raspberries and many more base ingredients, freeze them, then add the frozen fruit to a blender with water. Blitz it up for a healthy smoothie that’s both good for all of us and is packed full of water too.
7 – Make it available.
As daft as it sounds, choosing water might be the last option kids will go for, if there is an alternative in the cupboard or the ridge. If all that’s available is water, then they’ll drink it. Use filtration systems to remove the icky tap water taste.
8 – Keep at it.
Two of my kids try to thwart me at every turn when it comes to drinking the H2O these days, but as teens, they have choices, though I am very proud that my middle child picks water as his drink of choice, several times a day. He’s developed a very healthy relationship with his beverages.
9 – Choose it out and about.
You know the routine. For a change, you visit an eatery and the first thing you do, is order a soda. Replace the first drink with a glass of water. Not only will you save money on the bill, your health will love you for it too.
10 – Make soup.
What! Well, we all know that home-made is always best. As well as hiding lots of vegetables we can’t get kids of all ages to eat, and that goes for my mother too, a pot of soup can contain a nice serving of water, used to add the liquid content of the soup. This is one of my biggest tricks of my life. If you make it yourself, for every 1.6 litres of soup, there could be approximately 1 litre of water. That’s nothing to sniff at.