7 tips to keep your children well hydrated!

Vanessa Gatelein Nov 28, 2022

When there’s so much going on, it’s easy to forget to stay hydrated, especially during the winter months when we don’t feel it’s that important. Even though the weather is cold, we tend to be warmed by dry heat at home and at work .   

Water plays a key role in the body – which makes sense given that we are made up of 55 - 65% of the stuff.* The benefits of maintaining hydration are far reaching; it helps with digestion, brain function, circulation, hormones, nerves and even skin health.  

According to a global study of 8039 people, less than half of the people asked think their children are drinking enough water. While in the Healthy Starts for Families program, participants claim to have drunk more water after starting the program.    

A big part of hydration is awareness.  

- How much are you drinking every day?  
- How is your family hydrating every day? 
- Is water the only way to hydrate?  
- What are the signs of dehydration? 

Let’s find out! 

Here are 7 tips to make staying hydrated top of mind for the whole family. 

1. Change your mindset. 
2. Think beyond water. 
3. Know the signs of dehydration. 
4. Model the behavior you want. 
5. Kids prep their own drink! 
6. Make it playful. 
7. Sticker it. 
8. Add soup to your normal meal rotation. 

1. Change your mindset. 

Children don’t think like we adults do. We have a lot of experience living, they don’t. They don’t know what it’s like to feel dehydrated and probably could not express that verbally if they did feel it. It’s recommended we aim to drink half our weight in ounces of water. 

This means you need to anticipate when good times to hydrate are and offer them something to drink multiple times a day. They don’t need to accept every time, and if you do it without force or pressure, they may start accepting to drink more often. 

Here is when I offer water to my son: 

- Upon waking up 
- With breakfast 
- With morning snack 
- Before lunch 
- With lunch
- With a physical activity 
- At the park 
- After crying and when sick (water is soothing) 
- When brushing teeth 
- Bedtime (on night table)   

If you have teenager in the house, here’s when to offer a drink: 

- Coming to the breakfast table 
- Sending them to school with a full water bottle 
- When they get home from school, offer with a yummy snack 
- At dinner 
- With a pre-bedtime snack If they are upset about something, a glass of water soothes 
- While doing homework 
- During and after sports 
- Before bed 

2. Think beyond just water. 

Hydration includes all liquids and goes way beyond just water! Add some of these foods and drinks to your weekly mix to increase the liquid going into your children. 

- Soups of any kind. 
- Gazpacho, which is a cold vegetable soup. 
- Stews, like a bean or veggie stew.  
- Curries (e.g. lentil with a lot of liquid in it) 
- Herbal teas or infusions (cold or hot) 
- Fresh fruit like watermelon, strawberries, cucumber, and tomatoes are hydrating and can be used to flavor water. 
- Salad greens like butter lettuce and iceberg. 
- Smoothies 
- Ice cubes with fruit pieces inside. 
- Milk of your choice 
- Coconut water  

3. Know the signs of dehydration. 

Sometimes we are not even sure if we or our children are dehydrated. Here are the clinical symptoms according to National Library of Medicine* plus the more anecdotal behaviors that you may see in children below.  

You may notice these symptoms*: 

- Fatigue 
- Thirst 
- Dry skin and lips 
- Dark urine 
- Headaches 
- Muscle cramps 
- Lightheadedness 
- Dizziness  

You may see these behaviors in children: 

- Crankiness 
- Tiredness, no motivation to play 
- Crying 
- Needy 
- Wanting to watch more television 
- Wanting to be “on” you more  

4. Model the behavior you want. 

Our children are mini-me’s – they will model after their favorite person in the house. Right now, my son follows his stepdad’s actions, his sarcastic jokes, and his playful attitude. Sometimes this is great, sometimes not. So, I remind my husband to demonstrate good habits so that my son can pick them up as well. Things like: 

- Drinking water throughout the day 
- Brushing teeth after each meal 
- Picking up a book to read versus watching TV (this is a big one for me right now!)  

I like to model hydration like this: 

- Having my adorable, pretty water bottle always packed when on the go 
- Choosing water instead of sugary beverages when out to eat 
- Preparing a soup or broth and serving with supper 
- Eating fresh salads with lettuce at lunch… always, even with a sandwich! 
- Eat fresh or frozen fruit. We love munching on frozen cherries while trying not to get brain freeze. 

Kids Prep their Own Drink! 

There is nothing better than having your child “own” the task they need to learn. Get messy in the kitchen at snack time and allow them to prepare the drinks. Here’s some easy and fun recipes. 

Lemon Water 

- Adults fill a big pitcher of cold water. 
- Allow the child, with help, to press the lemon juice out of the lemon. 
- Pour into the pitcher of water. 
- Let the child drop in the ice cubes one at a time and then stir to mix. 
- If it is too sour, consider swirling in a bit of maple syrup to taste.  

Cucumber & Mint Water 

- Adults fill a big pitcher of cold water. 
- Adult chops up cucumber. 
- Allow the child to mash up the cucumber with a masher or big spoon in a bowl. 
- Pour mashed cucumber into the pitcher of water. 
- Add fresh mint leaves. 
- Let the child drop in the ice cubes one at a time and then stir to mix. 
- Enjoy! 

6. Make it playful 

There’s nothing better than a new “thing” to make a boring glass of water fun.  

Play 1) New water bottle with a squirt feature on it.  

Play 2) Add butterfly pea flower tea powder to the water. The powder has barely any taste, but makes the water blue and purply colored. 

Play 3) Freeze water into ice cubes, add a little bit of fruit juice and make a slushy with your blender. 

7. Sticker It 

Everyone loves stickers. Create a sticker chart for every family member, even the dog. 

- For every glass of water drunk, add a fabulous sticker. 
- At the end of the week… see who drank the most water. 
- Perhaps there’s a prize for the one who drank the most? A new water bottle?   

8. Add soup to your normal meal rotation! 

Soups help you stay hydrated and can be very nourishing. What soup can the family cook together? Get the kids prepping the veg, have them chop it up in blender and literally eat your water intake for the day!  

Try this Quick Lentil Soup with Toast (25 minutes)  
Serves two adults and two children 

• 1 can of cooked lentils  
• one celery stalk 
• one onion  
• two carrots  
• 1 small can of tomato puree 
• three tablespoons extra virgin olive oil as needed 
• Some bread for toast 
• salt to taste   


- Wash and chop the celery and carrots, then place in a pot and cook until golden for a few seconds with two tablespoons of oil.  
- Drain the lentils and rinse under running water.  
- Then pour the lentils into a pot, add the tomato puree and a generous ladle of lukewarm water.  
- Cook and allow to take on flavor for 20 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally. In the meantime, toast the sliced bread.  
- Serve the soup with the toast.    

Now that we’ve shared some of our favorite ideas, which one will you choose?  

Which one do you think would work best for your children?  

If you want to know more about our Healthy Starts for Families program and how you could get free Juice Plus+ products for your child, click here

*Taylor K, Jones EB. Adult Dehydration. [Updated 2022 Oct 3]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: 

  • Nutrition
  • Healthy Family
  • Hydration
  • Plant-based