Water is essential for everyone, but very few of us drink enough water on a regular basis. Children tend to favor juices and other sugary drinks, such as sodas, that can do more harm than good and don’t always provide the right level of hydration that young children need. Substituting water, and providing ready access to it, can go a long way to helping improve their overall health and building better life habits.
Benefits of Water Over Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
As soon as children start to wean off milk, parents must decide what to let their kids eat and drink. For infants and toddlers, the next step often tends to be juice, most commonly apple juice. While 100% juices are much better than artificial ones, they still can lead to health problems.
One major issue with these beverages is sugar, which can start to degrade the enamel on teeth, priming them for cavities and other dental issues. Another problem is that sugary drinks can lead to childhood weight gain, which can lead to later health complications and self-esteem issues. Even worse, they start to condition a child’s taste buds to sweeter drinks, which can cause them to avoid healthier choices in the future.
In contrast, water is much better for preventing tooth decay and helping reduce the risk of different types of dental disease. It also lowers the risk of childhood obesity and teaches children to think of water as a preferable drink, in opposition to sugar-filled ones.
Water is also the optimal choice for remaining hydrated, as sugar-filled drinks, like soda, don’t do as much in that regard. When children stay hydrated, they can have improved mental and physical skills, such as longer attention spans and boosts in energy. Water also helps promote chemical balances in the body and regulated functions, such as metabolism and transportation of nutrients throughout the body.
Promoting Drinking Water in Young Children
Once they grow older, children will start to make choices about what they want to drink – and parents may give in and provide unhealthy drink options. However, it’s possible to reduce the risk of these incidences very early.
As mentioned, drinking sugar-based drinks often starts with juice. However, infants and toddlers don’t have much nutritional need for sugar-based drinks, even in the healthier form of 100% juice.
As children are still very young and rely on their parents to provide drinks, it is up to adults to promote water by providing it as the default drink. Instead of taste buds becoming conditioned to sugar, water becomes an enjoyable part of a child’s intake – and thus makes it much less likely he or she would insist on sugary drinks.
Readily providing water is essential for healthy drinking habits. Young children may not always recognize when they’re thirsty – and even if they do come asking for a drink, then they may have already reached a point of dehydration. Providing a readily accessible source of water, be it in a glass at home or a bottle when on the go, promotes regular drinking and keeps kids hydrated.
Parental actions are also important, as children are very impressionable by the actions the adults in their lives take. If parents insist that their children drink water, but fail to do so themselves, it creates a situation where the child will want to drink other options. Having water available for everyone at the table promotes the healthy behavior.
Childcare centers can help children drink water. Again, simply providing easily accessible water takes away the risk of dehydration and encourages hydration throughout the day. Increasing water and limiting juice in tandem is an excellent strategy for childcare centers to use.
Move Toward a Low-Sugar, High-Water Drinking Environment for Kids With Crystal Clear Bottled Water
As the benefits of drinking water come to light, more health organizations are likely to start promoting it, especially for children. The addition of water to federal educational nutrition resources, such as MyPlate, has been under consideration to provide a more visual guide to remind children and their caretakers about the importance of higher water intake.
Crystal Clear Bottled Water provides FDA-approved, high-quality safe drinking water to Iowa residents. Our water delivery service allows for arranged drop-offs of bottles to residential homes, providing a ready source for water in your home – and for your children.