To drink enough water regularly – this is something that can be hard even for adults, so it can definitely be a tough challenge for kids. They just have not learned to take care of themself. Luckily they have parents, who know what is good fort hem and can remind them!
Well, if it would only be this easy. You can probably tell a long story about this: Unfortunately children often do not want what their parents want. So a simple thing like drinking quickly turns into a big fight. The parents are nagging with the best intentions, the children refuse ... and in the end they are all desperate. So what can you do if your child does not drink enough?
Reward systems are well-meant but undignified
Often a reward system is proposed in education guides. That could work like this: „If you drink one glas of water, you will get a sticker. If you have ten stickers, we will go out and eat ice cream.“
Does that work? Certainly, for a little bit. Is it dignified to be conditioned like a dog? Certainly not. After all, the child should want to drink out of itself as a result of a successful education, and not because it is getting ice cream. Bonus systems that degrade the child into an object of desire for others are not a sustainable solution to the problem.
Take your child seriously and motivate it with enthusiasm
Good news: there is a positive way to „manipulate“ your child. This method leaves your child with dignity and will definitely work out! The secret is that your child’s brain responds to joy. If you manage to activate its curiosity, enthusiasm and inner motivation, it will volunteer and learn effortlessly. Sounds too good to be true? Try it out! This is how it can look like in concrete terms:
1. Let your child choose its own cup
This is where dignity and self-determination begin. Maybe instead of a sippy cup, Mama's glass is much more interesting? Or maybe glasses and cups are dumb, but drinking horns are great? Or it doesn't matter, as long as it has a picture of the ice princess on it? Leave the choice to your child. If he is allowed to choose a drinking vessel, it is much more likely that it will be used proudly.
2. Get exciting drinks
Of course, "stimulating" does not mean caffeine! It is enough if a different taste tickles the tip of the tongue every now and then. Now your child is wide awake! Water should of course form the basis of the daily fluid intake. But boredom is the death of any motivation, even when drinking. In order for your child to drink with relish and at the same time have fun with his or her body and its sensations, variety is essential!
That means: everything is allowed (within a reasonable framework): Water can be pimped with fruits, herbs or fruit juices. How about homemade iced tea without added sugar? And every now and then it may also be an unhealthy drink, such as a lemonade. Talk to your child at eye level, let it taste everything and explain the difference between the drinks (from healthy to unhealthy). The little ones understand more than you give them credit for.
3. Make it easy for your child
Just imagine: every time you want to drink something, you would have to go to the basement, do four push ups and then find a neighbor to pour you a drink. You probably wouldn’t want to do it all that much anymore, would you?
Makes sense, because that process would take so much energy! Besides stimulation (see point 2) every brain wants to save energy – no matter if it is young or old. Therefore: Make it as easy as possible for your kid to access liquids! An own drinking bottle like the FLSK, that can always be close by, is a great idea! Make sure that your child can open and close the bottle by itself.
4. Try Drinking Games
Gamification, Baby! The buzzword from the marketing department means nothing more than making a game out of an activity that is actually unrelated to the game. This works especially well with children. They love to compete, be silly and to dive into imaginary worlds. Drinking regularly as a game sounds like fun. Let your creativity run freely and play along!
- Try adult drinkings games and turn them into kid versions. Do you know the Sissi-Drinking game? Whenever there is a certain word in the Sissi movies, you have to drink. What word is used often in your kid’s favorite tv show? Take some alcohol free (!) drinks and start playing!
- Play „We got lost in the desert“. You obviously have to turn your apartment into the desert for this. Create small oases with drinking bottles at some places in your apartement, where you drag yourself with your last ounce of strength.
- Make some acrobatics. What ist he craziest pose that you can still drink in? Through your left leg? Laying on your tummy? Just to make sure you won’t leave puddles in your living room it might be safe to play outside or in your bath room!