The daily essential kids are not getting enough of

and this essential is... water

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

water Many parents find that they have difficulty convincing their children to consume one of life's most basic essentials: water.

Though of course, it's not that kids truly hate water. No thirsty person hates water. It's that kids much prefer drinking juice, sports drinks or even soda.

Many parents make the mistake with their children to go down the “juice-as-a-main-beverage path” and as a result many children begin to think of water as the devil's juice and don't want to drink it.

One of the biggest challenges parents face is trying to get kids to drink water early on. Juice, sports drinks or sodas generally taste better and are more interesting and appealing to children than water, so that's what the kids insist on drinking, and parents cave in.

Children do, however, need plain, old-fashioned water and with rates of childhood obesity at an all-time high, kids not drinking enough water is a definite concern.

When children get thirsty, they are going to drink something and if it is not water, it is usually a sugar-sweetened beverage. Those drinks – including most fruit juices – are, despite popular perception, a major source of calories and have been proven to contribute to obesity in teens. Even 100 percent juice is packed with natural sugars and calories and should be avoided except as a treat, pediatricians and health experts say.

So, how much water is enough, and how can parents convince their kids to drink it?

Pediatricians suggest that, as a rule of thumb, children should be drinking an ounce of water per pound of body-weight per day. For a child weighing 40-pounds that would be five average size glasses of water a day. “Good luck”, I hear some parents say.

When children do not get enough water it affects how much they sweat, and also their digestion. Children who are not drinking enough water are also more likely to be constipated. Mild dehydration also causes behavior changes and thus, if you notice that your child is dizzy, tired and slow to respond, they probably need something to drink and this drink should be water and not soda or even juice.

The real problem with children drinking water-substitutes instead of water is obesity.

If you already have child who does not like water and is addicted to juice wean them off the stuff by transitioning them slowly by adding water to their juice to dilute it, ultimately working toward eliminating juice from their diet. You could also add slices of fresh fruit, like strawberries or cantaloupe, to give a glass of water a refreshing taste. A splash of – and I mean spritzer – of lemon juice is also great and after a while they will want that rather than juice or soda.

We also will have to simply bring the kids to understand that water is what they need and that is where we have to change ourselves often.

Too many adults themselves drink nothing but soda, juices, coffee, tea, smoothies, or beer and not water per se and if we set such an example how do we expect the children to chose water instead of soda or juice?

We must lead by example and if water the is primary beverage at a home and everyone drinks it and other stuff only on occasions then the battle is already won. It is the adults, the carers and parents of the child, who have to lead by example. No good to come from the angle “do as I say not as I do”.

© 2012