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I have always struggled with getting my boys to drink water and staying hydrated. In fact, sometimes, I have a hard time making sure I drink enough and am staying hydrated. A big part of my problem is remembering to have water easily accessible and on hand throughout my day, especially if it’s an errand-running day. My boys’ biggest problem is the taste. They don’t love it. They don’t hate it, but it’s not exciting and it’s not the first thing they prefer to quench their thirst. At three years old, Little J doesn’t care that it’s healthy or good for him. He wants something that tastes delicious. That boy would drink his weight daily in milk and juice if I’d let him. Big J isn’t as hard to get to drink water, but if his brothers don’t have to drink water, he doesn’t want to drink it either. I came up with a system over the summer that has actually been working quite well for us.
MY FAMILY IS STAYING HYDRATED SO THEY CAN STAY HEALTHY
We traveled a lot this past summer. I mean half of our summer vacation was spent out of town. It is hard to have your routine disrupted for that long and that often. The things we weren’t really good at to begin with – like drinking enough water – became even more difficult to keep track of when every day was something new and different all day long. I decided I needed a better way to track my kids hydration than hoping we didn’t end up in the hospital. Here’s what I did: I made it a game! I would mark off “check points” on my boys’ water bottles and each time they reached a checkpoint, we would do something fun or they would get a small reward. It wasn’t anything major – we might paint a picture or they could choose a snack to enjoy (there’s a difference between “snacks” and “treats” in our house… I didn’t want all that water consumption negated by copious amounts of sugar).
Things You’ll Need:
– Water bottle for each child – Most of the time, like when we’re at home, in the car or won’t have to worry about keeping track of lots of belongings, we use hard plastic, reusable bottles. But I really love Nestlé® Pure Life® Water bottles when we’re going to be somewhere I don’t want to keep track of my boys’ three nice water bottles. The 8 ounce Junior size is perfect for little hands. I will tell you how I use this method on both kinds of bottles, since the set up is slightly different.
– Washi Tape or other easy to remove tape – masking tape works well. If you are using disposable bottles, you can skip this material. But, if you are using a bottle you will want to wash, washi and masking tape can be removed pretty cleanly as long as you don’t leave it on for too long or expose it to extremely hot temperatures. It makes washing the bottle a lot easier. If you don’t mind marking up your bottles, you could write right on the side of the bottle with the permanent marker. It will probably fade after a few washings, but you can just darken them up with the marker again.
– Permanent Marker
– Container that will measure ounces (or milliliters) – I used a baby bottle
If you use a water bottle that is already full of water (like Nestlé® Pure Life®), skip to the directions below for how to mark your bottle.
1. Fill up the container you’re using to measure with water. You’ll just use this water to mark your bottles. You won’t drink it, so you can use tap water and then water your plants with it or something.
2. I decided to go three ounces at a time. That was enough water to make sure my kids were drinking all day and staying hydrated but not so much that they became overwhelmed and refused to drink. Use whatever quantity you want. Pour your chosen quantity of water into your water bottle.
3. With the permanent marker make a mark on the washi or masking tape at the top of your water level.
- Continue adding water and marking it on the bottle until you’ve reached the top.
You can now fill the bottle with your preferred water, infused water, herbal tea or whatever you are trying to encourage your kids (or yourself!) to stay hydrated with.
STAYING HYDRATED WITH PRE-FILLED WATER BOTTLES
If you are going to be out somewhere that you don’t want to have to keep track off water bottles for everyone, you can use the same method with a plastic water bottle. It’s just a little different to set up. Here’s how:
Things you’ll need:
– Water bottles filled with water
– Permanent Marker
– Lay the bottle on its side.
– Line up the ruler with the bottom of the bottle.
– I usually chose to do every inch, for the same reason I mentioned I do every three ounces above. It’s enough to keep my boys drinking without being overwhelming. Use the permanent marker to mark your chosen quantity all the way up the side of the bottle.
You can keep some extra bottles if your kids drink all the water in the bottles they start with. Or you can refill them for the day and then recycle them – whatever your preference.
STAYING HYDRATED CAN BE REWARDING
When my kids hit a mark on their water bottles they get a small reward. The rewards are simple, healthy or educational. Usually, it’s things they would have gotten or we would have done any way. But, because my boys get to choose, they feel like it’s a big deal and are motivated to keep “earning” these special treats. Our rewards include things like:
- choosing a healthy snack – usually fruit
- 10 minutes of tablet time – we have some favorite educational games
- reading a story
- painting a picture
- playing with play dough
- doing a science experiment
- riding bikes
- drawing with chalk
- playing in the backyard
This month though, we have some fun Halloween activities that my boys can chose from. You can print out the fun printable below with some of the fun activities I will be offering my kids when they hit their checkpoints. I’m excited to be able to do some fun things with my boys and celebrate Halloween too! Click the photo to get the download link. Save and then print.
In a recent survey conducted by Nestlé® Pure Life® 88% of moms surveyed* said water is the beverage their child most regularly drinks in the car. Make this a healthy habit by making sure that each child has a bottle of water in hand before they leave the house. This has really helped my kids up their water intake. In the survey, Nestlé® also found that kids are most likely to choose a drink other than water at restaurants (where 54% choose soda) and celebrations (where 58% choose soda).* That’s a lot of sugar!
And did you know that a majority of kids say they prefer a homemade lunch (57%) over a school bought lunch.* This preference for packed lunches offers a key hydration opportunity for moms – packing a bottle of water can help increase a child’s water intake for the day. Big J will often ask if he can take a cold lunch and I’ve tried to make more for him, even with my busy schedule. In your child’s lunch is a great time to offer more water, even if you aren’t actually present to give them the offer.
Robin Plotkin, Registered and licensed dietitian, suggests asking your children if they’d like a drink of water every time you go for a drink of water. Soon, says Plotkin, your kids will be asking you if you’d like to join them for a water break.
As a proud supporter of the Partnership for a Healthier America’s Drink Up initiative, Nestlé® Pure Life® is committed to helping families make healthier choices, starting with hydration. Establishing healthy habits in early childhood has lifelong benefits. We call this The Ripple Effect, and we’re encouraging moms and their kids to reach for water first. To ignite The Ripple Effect movement and encourage kids to get the water they need throughout their day, Nestlé Pure Life is providing water to kids this school year through After- School All-Stars, an organization that strives to keep children safe and healthy through afterschool programming. At PureLifeRippleEffect.com, moms can share tips and tricks that they use to teach their kids about the importance of staying healthy and hydrated. With this movement, moms will be empowered to send their kids off to school each day fueled and hydrated. To help your family Drink Up and be a part of the Ripple Effect – a movement to keep kids hydrated – visit pureliferippleeffect.com and share your tips for healthy hydration using #pureliferippleeffect. Nestlé® Pure Life® has committed to provide nearly one million 8 ounce servings of water to kids this school year through After-School All-Stars. Information source – At over 20 participating schools in select markets across the country
You can find Nestlé® Pure Life® Water at Walmart in the grocery section with the bottled water and other beverages. I love the convenience of being able to get it when I’m out doing other shopping. It helps me keep water easily accessible for my family, and that is a huge key for us in staying hydrated.
Stay up to date with Nestlé® Pure Life® Water on Facebook. And check out the Nestlé® website for more great products!
*Online survey conducted in June 2015 of 1,077 moms of kids ages 6-12 overall, including 254 Hispanic moms of kids ages 6-12. 1,077 kids ages 6-12 from the same household were also surveyed, including 254 Hispanic kids ages 6-12. © 2015 Nestlé® Waters North America Inc.