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8 Strategies To Encourage Your Toddler To Drink More Water

Are you worried about how to encourage your toddler to drink more water? Do you feel your child isn’t getting enough water, and you want to know what can help?

How To Encourage Your Toddler To Drink More Water

It’s important to ensure that your toddler drinks enough water during the day. Dehydration can cause a number of problems – whether it’s tantrums due to feeling thirsty and not being able to express it, fatigue, or even dehydration. 

While it’s not always easy to get kids to drink water, there are a few things you can do to encourage them. In this blog post, we will discuss some common questions about this as well as tips for getting your toddler to drink enough water.

Disclaimer: This post, like all content on this site, is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for consulting with a professional and getting any recommended interventions. Read our full disclaimer policy here.

At what age do babies and toddlers need to drink water? Do young babies need water?

Pediatricians recommend starting water only once complementary feeding has been started. From the time they’re born until six months old, your child only drinks breast milk or infant formula. After six months of age, water is okay for them to have. You can ask their pediatrician if you need some guidance on how much and when it’s safe to give your children water.

How much water should your toddler drink?

It’s recommended that toddlers drink about a liter of water per day. However, they should only drink when thirsty and should not be forced to consume the entire amount. 

Toddlers will naturally want to stop drinking after they’ve had their fill, so you can let them decide how much they need. 

Several factors can determine how much water they need. For example, they’ll need more in hot and sunny weather or when they’ve been playing actively.

You’ll know whether your toddler is drinking enough by how their urine appears. If it’s too dark, it’s best if you encourage them to drink more water. If you’re worried about how much your child drinks, speak with your pediatrician. 

Why is it important for your toddler to drink plenty of water?

  • Water is essential for body functions.
  • If your child doesn’t drink enough water, it can lead to constipation. This is because water is necessary for soft stools and so the body absorbs as much as it needs.
  • Your child will also have trouble getting enough nutrients and oxygen if they don’t drink water, as the body can’t absorb them without sufficient hydration.
  • If your toddler is dehydrated, it may cause seizures.  Dehydration happens when there’s not enough fluid in the body, so cells start to shrink and produce waste that the kidneys must filter out.  

Strategies to Encourage Your Toddler to Drink More Water

Here are ways you can encourage your toddler to drink more water.

strategies to encourage your toddler to drink more water
  1. Have water freely available. Use a child-size pitcher and child-size cup, and place them on a table your child can reach.
  2. Model it. Show your child that you’re drinking water too.
  3. Include in the diet foods that are rich in fluids, such as fresh fruit. Juice and soda, on the other hand, should be limited as they contain a lot of sugar. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than four ounces of juice a day, and they recommend diluting it with water.
  4. Give the water some flavor using fresh or frozen fruits or vegetables. Some tasty treats include crushed mint leaves, cucumber slices, strawberries, oranges, and lemons. Experiment to see what your toddler will like. Different toddlers have different preferences. Some will love having the new flavors, while others may want just plain water.
  5. Include drinking water in specific parts of your routine. Great times to do this are on waking up, in intervals during play time, and after strenuous activities.
  6. Be positive. Let your child know that water is good for them and how great they will feel when they drink it.
  7. Turn it into a game. Let your child use an empty bottle and fill it with water either by the sink or at the tap. They can also try to carry their own special bottle around, just like mom.
  8. Give your child choices. Water is necessary and it’s not a choice whether or not to drink it. However, your child can make choices in many ways. Here are some examples: Do you want to use your Paw Patrol cup or your PJ Masks cup? Do you want plain water or water with a cucumber slice? Do you want to fill your cup with the pitcher or the water dispenser?

What to avoid?

Here are methods that may be commonly practiced, but are not as helpful and we don’t encourage.

  1. Punishment. Don’t punish or threaten your child. We want this experience to be as pleasant as possible.
  2. Rewards. We want this to be a learning experience, so we don’t want them to think it’s about getting something.
  3. Forceful drinking. Drinking on demand isn’t good for toddlers either, as they should decide when they’re thirsty and drink then. If you force them, they may just play around with the water or only pretend to drink.
  4. Using candied water or soda instead of water.  Candy and soda contain a lot of sugar and it can lead to cavities and weight gain, as well as tooth decay.

Encouraging your toddler to drink more water is important for their overall health and well-being. You can help by making sure water is readily available, modeling proper hydration yourself, and offering a variety of flavorful options. Turning it into a fun game also helps. If you have any concerns about whether or not your child gets enough hydration, speak with your pediatrician.

Disclaimer: This post, like all content on this site, is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for consulting with a professional and getting any recommended interventions. Reading this post does not create a doctor-patient relationship with the author. Read our full disclaimer policy here.

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