Children's Hospital Colorado

11 Ways to Get Your Kids to Drink More Water

A girl wearing a bike helmet drinks water from a water bottle.

It can be difficult to get kids to drink water, but it is especially important if they are active – our bodies lose water through breathing, sweating and digestion.

Follow these tips from Cara Demme-Pratt, RD, Registered Dietitian at Children’s Hospital Colorado, to help your kids stay hydrated and energized.

  1. Use frozen fruit in place of ice cubes or consider buying mustache straws.
  2. Infuse your water with flavor by adding fruits like berries, cucumbers, lemons and limes.
  3. Freeze ice cube trays with berries and add this to your water to keep it extra cold.
  4. Provide your child with their own special drinking cup.
  5. Buy tiny water bottles (4 or 8 ounces) that are easy for kids to hold and drink. Teach and encourage them to use the faucet to fill their cup or how to use the water dispenser on the fridge.
  6. Set up a reward system when your child drinks more water. Give your child a reward sticker for drinking their water or do a special dance when they give you an empty bottle.
  7. Be a role model. The more your children see you carrying out healthy habits, the more likely they are to do the same.
  8. Carry a water bottle. Keep one for your child in your car, put one in their backpack, take it on trips, and keep in your refrigerator at home.
  9. Freeze some freezer-safe water bottles for ice-cold water all day long.
  10. Choose water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. Substituting water for one 20-ounce sugar-sweetened soda will save your child (or you) about 240 calories. Sugar-sweetened beverages can include fruit drinks, sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade and non-diet soda.
  11. Choose water instead of other beverages when eating out. Generally, you will save money and also reduce calories.

How much water does my child need?

The amount of water a child or teen needs each day depends on factors such as age, weight and gender. As a general rule to get enough water, your child or teen should drink at least 6 to 8 (eight-ounce) cups of water a day.

Your child or teen should also eat the recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables every day since fruits and vegetables have higher water content than other solid foods.

Answers in your inbox

Expert advice delivered directly to you. Get weekly tips