As parents, we all want to ensure that our children are healthy and well-cared for. One of the most important things we can do for them is to make sure they are properly hydrated as they grow and they learn to make drinking water a habit in their daily lives. So how do we get our kids to drink more water? Unfortunately, many kids don’t drink enough water, which can lead to a host of health problems. We will discuss the importance of hydration for children and provide practical tips and strategies for encouraging kids to drink more water. From making water fun and appealing, to setting goals and using positive reinforcement, we’ve got you covered. By the end of reading this, you’ll have some tools you can use to help your child develop healthy hydration habits for life.

Tips for Encouraging Kids to Drink More Water

  1. Make it fun: Use a straw, a fun-shaped water bottle or add some slices of fruit to the water to make it more appealing to kids.
  2. Make it accessible: Keep water bottles or cups filled with water in easy reach for kids throughout the day.
  3. Set a good example: Children are more likely to mimic the behavior of adults, so make sure to drink water yourself and encourage your kids to do the same.
  4. Keep track of water intake: Create a chart or a sticker system to track how much water they drink throughout the day.
  5. Incorporate it into their routine: Encourage children to drink water at regular intervals throughout the day such as when they wake up, before meals, after playing outside, and before bedtime.
  6. Mix it up with flavored water: Try adding a small amount of 100% juice or make some tea and have a daily tea party.
  7. Make it a game: Have a daily water goal for everyone in the family and see who can get closest to it every day.
  8. Get them involved: Let kids pick out their own water bottle or cup, or have them help you make flavored water by adding fruits or herbs. A great way to do this is to include it in your morning routine and make a big jug to enjoy throughout the day.

Kids to drink more water

Remember to keep the water accessible and make it a positive experience, kids will be more likely to drink water.

“Water is essential for life. From the time that primeval species ventured from the oceans to live on land, a major key to survival has been prevention of dehydration. The critical adaptations cross an array of species, including man. Without water, humans can survive only for days.”

Popkin, Barry M et al. “Water, hydration, and health.” Nutrition reviews vol. 68,8 (2010): 439-58. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x

Importance of Encouraging Kids to Drink More Water

Staying hydrated is important for children, especially as they are still growing and developing. Here are some of the reasons why staying hydrated is important for children:

  • Maintaining proper body temperature: Water helps regulate body temperature by sweating and respiration, which is especially important for children who are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses.
  • Aiding in physical growth and development: Water is necessary for the transport of nutrients and oxygen to cells throughout the body, which is essential for proper growth and development.
  • Improving cognitive function: Adequate hydration can help improve mood, concentration, and memory in children. Dehydration can cause fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating, which can affect children’s school performance.
  • Boosting energy levels: Adequate hydration can boost energy levels and help children stay active and engaged in their daily activities.
  • Maintaining healthy digestion: Adequate hydration, along with enough fiber, can help prevent constipation and maintain healthy bowel movements.
  • Promoting healthy skin: Adequate hydration can help improve skin elasticity, which can help prevent dry skin, eczema, and other skin conditions.
  • Supporting healthy weight: Drinking water before meals can help children control their appetite and calorie intake, which can help support healthy weight.
  • Supporting healthy immune system: Adequate hydration can help support the healthy functioning of the immune system, which can help children stay healthy and resist infections.


Water is essential for life. From the time that primeval species ventured from the oceans to live on land, a major key to survival has been prevention of dehydration. The critical adaptations cross an array of species, including man. Without water, humans can survive only for days. There have been some studies done on the consumption of water and other beverages in children. This study concluded that “at least 75% of children failed to meet DRI (Dietary Reference Intakes) reference values for water intake” This is a significant number of children who are not getting the proper hydration they need. Another study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that teenagers who drank more water had better mental health and well-being. It’s important to note that these studies have different sample sizes and not necessarily generalizable to all population, however, it gives an idea of the importance of water consumption and the benefits of staying hydrated.

How Much Water Do Our Children Need?

Below is a chart containing data from Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academies. This table shows the total water recommended for each age group. Total water means all water that is contained in our children’s food, water, and other beverages. Please keep this in mind when looking over the first table. About 20% of our water intake comes from our food. I used to find myself searching for “how much water should my child drink calculator” online but now I have a chart hung up on the fridge. Below is a reference for you to use!

Recommended Dietary Allowance and Adequate Intake for Total Water

0-6 Months (BM* or Formula)0.7 L/day (2.96 Cups)0.7 L/day (2.96 Cups)
6-12 Months (BM* or Formula)0.8 L/day (3.38 Cups)0.8 L/day (3.38 Cups)
1-3 Years1.3 L/day (5.5 Cups)1.3 L/day (5.5 Cups)
4-8 Years1.7 L/day (7.18 Cups)1.7 L/day (7.18 Cups)
9-13 Years2.1 L/day (8.88 Cups)2.4 L/day (10.14 Cups)
14-18 Years2.3 L/day (9.72 Cups)3.3 L/day (13.95 Cups)
Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Recommended Dietary Allowances and Adequate Intakes, Total Water
Total water includes all water contained in food, beverages, and drinking water

Daily Water Intake Recommendations

0-6 Months (BM* or Formula)
6-12 Months (BM* or Formula)
1-3 Years4 cups, or 32 ounces4 cups, or 32 ounces
4-8 Years5 cups, or 40 ounces5 cups, or 40 ounces
9-13 Years7-8 cups, or 56-64 ounces7-8 cups, or 56-64 ounces
14-18 Years8-11 cups, or 64-88 ounces8-11 cups, or 64-88 ounces
Daily Adequate Intake of Water and other Beverages
Data Retrieved from Harvard School of Public Health

Infographic on Getting Kids to Drink More Water

Tips to get kids to drink water


In summary, hydration is essential for children’s overall health and development. As children grow, they need water to regulate their body temperature, transport nutrients, oxygen and support their physical and cognitive growth. However, many children don’t drink enough water and this can lead to a variety of health problems. The good news is that as parents, we can play a big role in encouraging our kids to drink more water by making it fun, accessible, and by setting a good example. We can use different strategies such as adding a straw, a fun-shaped water bottle or slices of fruit to make it more appealing, keeping water bottles or cups filled with water in easy reach, tracking water intake, incorporating it into their routine, making it a game, and get them involved in the process. By doing these, we can help our children develop healthy hydration habits for life and ensure that they are well-cared for and healthy.

Share some fun ways below on how you get your kids to drink more water!

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