In a world full of helpful yet conflicting advice, it seems a folly to add to this by telling/advocating/advising all parents that water is THE only real hydrating fluid suitable for kids. However, we can imagine the number of households where there will be stroppy toddlers, children throwing tantrums and downright sullen teenagers once they discover that the juice and the litres of fizzy drinks are now ‘banned’. There are reasons why experts suggest confining the sugary drinks to the dustbin of life and, for children, staying hydrated with water has never been more important…
Drink and be merry
But not as you think! We all need to drink around 8 glasses of water a day (less for smaller children) and try to avoid sugary, caffeine-laden drinks. After the initial withdrawal symptoms have passed – caffeine is addictive after all – you will feel much, much better. In fact, after a few weeks of staying hydrated with crystal clear water you will actually realise how rubbish you felt before.
Children and teenagers can be different and you may need some extra persuasive arguments to win the water vs fizzy pop debate…
- Helps the weight – tough one this, especially as we are in the murky world of not wanting to plunge our kids into a world of eating disorders but we are caught in the argument that UK kids are becoming obese.
Whilst the odd fizzy drink is not going to blow the scales, regular consumption can contribute to weight gain.
- Stops the rot – we all know that sugar has a nasty habit of dissolving the protective layer of enamel on our teeth. But it is not just sugar in fizzy drinks; the sugar in fruit juices can be acidic too, affecting our teeth. Sugar, along with salt, is often a hidden ingredient in food.
Being aware of when we are consuming sugar is essential. If your kids are not keen on the dentist, the fact that they may have to make more visits if they keep glugging all that fizzy pop may work a treat in persuading them that water is a far better choice.
- Hydrated rather than wrinkled prune – you know how your fingertips wrinkle after being in water too long? The skin looks similar when it is dehydrated and parched too. For those kids who like to look good – and who doesn’t? – helping them understand the role that water plays in making us look hydrated, handsome or beautiful is a great way of getting kids to really understand the power of water. Skin, joints and our general well-being are important so ditch the sugary stuff and opt for the water instead. Making the switch! Right, you have the whole family on board and you are ready to make the transition … what now? Water can be mixed with fruit to make some interesting, lightly flavoured drinks that are great for mealtime and for sipping throughout the day. Tip 1: ice cold is better than room temperature Lukewarm water is not always the most flavoursome, so keep your freezer well stocked with ice cubes. You can add some juice or fruit to these too, as well as invest in ice cube trays in different shapes. Drinking water does not have to be boring! Tip 2: try different flavours Try this… In a large jug, add cucumber slices, watermelon, melon and a few strawberries to some ice cold water. Add a few lumps of ice along with 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Finish off with a few sprigs of mint, give it a good stir and allow those flavours to mix together. You can also blend all this is a food blender to make your own juice but if the lime or lemon juice is a little sharp, making it too tart, you could add a pinch of sugar. Tip 3: on the table, every mealtime Offering alternatives is not a great start because, in all honesty, kids are more likely to opt for the sugary stuff every time. A nice jug, some colourful tumblers and a few slices of lemon or lime presented with every meal is a great way of getting a glass or two of water in to kids (and adults too!) Water is simply the best tonic. Your brain will be more hydrated, and it’ll work better. The kids will be far less hyper and more settled in their behaviours. Water has the answers to so many daily puzzles and struggles. Try it and see!