How child care facilities can promote intake

Tips to help child care providers increase the amount of water consumed in young children.

Staying hydrated is very important for staying healthy. When working at a child care center, it may be a challenge to encourage all of the children to drink adequate water throughout the day. Typically, young children will want to choose to drink sugary drinks such as soda or juice, however it is important to encourage them to drink water instead. Since many of the sugary drinks contain substances such as caffeine, they do not hydrate as adequately as water does. According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, it is recommended for children, ages 4-8 to consume 5 cups of water daily. This number is also dependent upon how much physical activity the children are doing. Have the children drink an extra half cup of water per 20 minutes of exercise.

Here are some tips to help encourage water intake:

Have a craft day! Grab some inexpensive or disposable water bottles and label different times on them (8am, 10am, noon, 2pm, 4pm, etc.) and encourage the kids to drink their water to the designated line. Set up a reward system if they succeed at this such as a trip to the park or zoo.

Have a “water break” at certain times throughout the day.

Eat more fruits and vegetables! These are full of water and can help them stay hydrated.

Add water to drinks such as lemonade or juice to cut down on sugar and boost hydration!

Spice up your water! Infusing water with fresh fruits or herbs can give it just enough flavor so that they will not get bored with it. Some ideas include:

    • Cucumber and Honey Dew Melon
    • Lime and Mint
    • Strawberry and Watermelon
    • Lemon and Strawberry
      • You could make a large pitcher of infused water and serve it to the kids or have them put their own fruits/herbs into their own water bottles.

Trying different ways to add water into their day will help them be healthier and feel more energized. Showing the children that there are different, fun ways to incorporate water into their day will help them to want to drink more water even into their adulthood. Stay encouraged and try to drink water in front of them as well so that they see that you think it is important for your own health as well! 

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