Aaah, refreshing water. It has no calories, no caffeine, and no sugar. It also reduces your kids’ risk for tooth sensitivity and decay, making it the perfect drink for your little ones. But giving them water instead of sugary juice can be easier said than done. Not to fret, we’ve got your back.
Starting earlier is easier
Here’s how you can make water a habit from the start — before sugary cravings begin:
- Make water your one and only. Most parents have found that giving their child water instead of juice is easiest if they never start with juice in the first place. If your little ones aren’t used to the sweet stuff, they won’t try to fight you for it.
- Invite their “friends.” Swap a boring sippy cup for one with your kids’ favorite character and make water a party every time.
- Prep your cup. For a grab-and-go option that’s not a juice box, keep cups of water prepped in the fridge (no dishwashing, no time wasted, and no rotten teeth).
- Play copy-cat. Babies and toddlers learn a lot from mimicking their parents. Use it to your advantage. Show them how it’s done by drinking water yourself.
“Never-too-early” tip: Sugary drinks can have not-so-fun effects even when you’re pregnant. Focus on hydrating with water to help even out the highs and lows that come with the blood-sugar-spike roller coaster.
How to slow down on sugar
If juice is already a regular part of snack time, here’s how to rewind sugary drink habits:
- Slowly, but surely. Stopping sugar cravings doesn’t have to happen all at once. Water down juice and sweet drinks little by little, till every drink is at least half water.
- Flavor, but make it natural. Adding fruit to water in a lidded sippy cup makes it look and taste more exciting. Use berries or throw in some extra pieces of fruit during snack time when you’re in a crunch. Let your child pick out fruits they would like to try.
- Find tasty alternatives. Give other options like sugar-free flavored water or seltzers a go.
For extra cavity-fighting powers, see why pediatrician Dr. Helen Chea gives her kids fluoridated water from the tap
Want to make sure your kid’s teeth are in tip-top shape? Connect with a dentist in your area.
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