Proper hydration supports nearly every system in the body. And teaching kids to reach for water over sugary drinks will help them reduce both empty calories and the risk of tooth decay. Water intake recommendations grow with your child and range with gender and exercise level. Here are a few rules of thumb to help guide your 2021 hydration goals: 

  • Ages 4-8: 7 cups of water per day. 

  • Ages 9-13: 9-10 cups of water per day.

  • Older teens: 10-14 cups of water per day.

Reminder: these goals take into account the food kids eat and other drinks. Fruits and veggies will go a long way in reaching this goal as well. 

Four Ways to Help Kids Drink More Water

Set a Good Example

First, remember this is a family resolution. Model good hydration habits by having your water bottle by you at all times. Need a new one? Shop local! Check out the selection at Ozark Outdoor Supply, Domestic Domestic or Go! Running for camping, athletics and school-worthy selections. 

Make it Fun 

Add excitement to your family’s quest for better water habits with some fun accessories. 

Special Water Bottles: Make sure your kids have one or two water bottles for home, school and after-school activities. Monogrammed bottles or cups featuring their favorite characters are sure to be winners.  

Reusable Straws: Reusable straws help reduce single-use plastic and make sipping a bit more fun. We love this kid-size option from Hillcrest Waterbugs.  

Molded Ice Cubes: Extra cold water can encourage a resistant drinker. Up the fun factor with ice molds in kid-friendly shapes, like these sweet hearts (just in time for V-day!). 

Switch it Up

While water straight from the tap is fine most days, you can also change your routine to make this habit a lasting one. 

Infuse with Deliciousness: Adding frozen fruit to your kids’ water bottle does double duty of brightening the flavor and keeping it cold and refreshing for longer. 

Try Bubbles: Instead of soda, have a supply of sparkling water on hand for a sugar-free carbonated treat.  

Teach Them to Take Charge 

Ultimately, you want your kids to learn to love water and reach for their water bottle on their own. Here are few keys to instilling that self-sufficiency. 

Use an App: If your kid loves tech, try an app that will help them keep track of their water intake. Plant Nanny is free to try and your kids will love watering adorable plants as they drink their daily water. 

Monitor Intake: Most kids don’t need an excuse to use a little potty talk during the day. Teach them the signs of dehydration — like dark colored urine — to help them know when it’s time to reach for another glass.  

Put Them on Refill Duty: Finally, if you want your kid to be self-sufficient, teach them how to open and fill their own water bottles. Early elementary kids should be all over this assignment. 

 You’ve got this, parents! Bottom’s up!