Did you make a New Year’s resolution? If so, you join about 40% of the rest of the country. Is your resolution still going strong? But, did you know that only 9% of people actually achieve their goal? Even within the first week of January, resolutions start to fizzle out, quickly. People make resolutions for many reasons: to lose weight, to be smarter with money, to learn a new talent. Even if you didn’t make a resolution, I challenge you to add this simple addition to your day: Drink more water.
Recent surveys have found that about 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Do you ever feel that mid-day lull that so many companies tell us we need to cure with snacks and Snickers? Most mid-day fatigue is due to dehydration. Our overconsumption of sugar is actually overcompensation due to dehydration. Being dehydrated makes us irritable, moody, and impacts our brain functioning. In fact, water is so substantial for our overall health: for a healthy digestive system, for healthy kidneys, to keep skin vibrant and clear, to energize your muscles, to control your eating habits.
But with all of those statistics in mind, the one that stuck out to me even more is the concern that our children are becoming, not only dehydrated, but engrained with habits that discourage water consumption. Children naturally are inclined to choose juice or chocolate milk over water. This leads to adults that choose soda and flavored juices. We need to encourage our children, and ourselves, to improve our water habits.
Keep It Fun
As with most things with kids, if you keep it fun, children can learn to enjoy water. There are so many ideas out there to encourage your children to drink water. Here are some simple ones I have tried and my sons enjoyed.
- Put out 3 glasses of water. Let your child squeeze a different fruit into each cup (we tried strawberries, orange, and lemon). Then, have them add water to each cup and see what flavor they like best.
- Sticker Charts! We reward good behavior – award their water consumption. There are so many creative ways to celebrate. If they hit their water goals for a week, have a water gun fight! Go to a community pool or paint with water colors.
- Do water science experiments. My son loves using water and food coloring to see what colors make what. We adjust the amount of water, and see if that changes the result. And, while we do the experiments, we make it our goal to each finish a glass of water!
- Water the flowers (or house plants). I gave my four year old the job of watering the flowers throughout the summer. We talked about how if he skipped watering the flowers, the flowers weren’t as healthy, and didn’t feel as good. Then we talked about how his body feels the same when it doesn’t have water.
- Modeling good water consumption. If your children see you drink water, they will want to do it too.
Modeling Water Consumption
Of all the things I can do to help encourage my boys to drink water, modeling water consumption is the most important, and it’s the one I am worst at. So, I have made it a goal to drink more water. I downloaded a free app called “Water-logged.” It is a simple app, and it gives me a notification every hour to drink 8 ounces of water. My son hears the sound of water now and says “mommy, let’s drink some water!” This has led me to declare the year 2018 the year of water! It’s good for me, and it is good for my children. I challenge you to take on this same, important, resolution. Put down that soda, grab a water instead!