Grab the sun cream, pack up the picnic blanket and get your shorts back out of hiding, we're (hopefully) about to be blessed with some nice weather.
After some disappointing wet and windy conditions, the summer feels like it’s finally starting to pick up and hopefully we'll be getting some toasty temperatures in Ireland this month.
We all know that when it’s hot, we need to drink more water to avoid dehydration and replenish our bodies of the water lost through sweating. Let’s face it though, getting kids to sit still for a second to drink some water when it’s sunny outside can be hard work – especially when there are so many tempting fizzy drinks on the market.
The Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute say: 'If a child is passing clear urine regularly throughout the day, it is likely that they are drinking enough'.
If water tantrums feature in your household on hot days, we’ve put together some healthy hacks for encouraging kids to chug down more H2O. You can thank us later…
1. Buy them a fun cup
It’s amazing what sticking your child’s favourite TV character on a reusable cup can do for their enthusiasm to stay hydrated.
Have a browse on the internet together and let your child pick out their own special drinking vessel – it could be a Dora the Explorer mug that’s covered in sparkles and glitter, or a colourful cartoon bottle that they’ll be keen to carry everywhere.
You could also invest in some reusable silly straws to keep them entertained while taking a water break. Make sure the cup and straws are in a cupboard that’s in easy reach so your child can always access them when they need it.
2. Infuse water with fruit to add flavour
When it comes to water, one of the biggest complaints from kids is that it doesn’t taste as good as fizzy drinks or sugary squash.
If your little ones have a particularly strong sweet tooth, wean them off the bad stuff by infusing water with some fresh fruit slices and tasty herbs.
Simply chop them up and pop them in – you can even get special infuser bottles too that keep the fruit chunks in a separate container to the water so there are no bits floating about for fussy kids.
Our favourite kid-friendly flavours are strawberries, mint, lemon, oranges, and cucumber.
3. Freeze ice cube trays with berries
You can get ice cube trays in all kinds of fun shapes these days like stars, love hearts and animals.
Pop a few berries into the tray before freezing to add a fun and appealing splash of colour to a plain old glass of water. The kids will love picking out their favourite cubes to garnish their drinks.
4. Set a good example
Setting new hydrating rules won’t go down well if you’re kicking back with a can of fizzy drink while the kids are miserably sipping water.
Be a role model and keep topping yourself up with H2O too. That way, they’ll feel more inclined to copy mum and dad.
5. Reward them for good efforts
A star system is a great incentive to get kids drinking more water.
For instance, you could challenge them to drink their recommended amount of water for one whole week, and if they manage to stick to it, you’ll take them on an extra special fun and healthy weekend activity in the sunny weather – like mini golf or an outdoor treasure hunt.
Try not to bribe them with toys though. Keep incentives to healthy, family-inclusive activities that will get them outdoors and enjoying the benefits of exercise.
6. Educate them
It’s all well and good ordering kids to drink more water, but if they don’t understand the importance of staying hydrated, you can’t expect them to take your demands seriously.
Spend a morning with them explaining how water is super important for their whole body to feel fit and healthy, and that without it they can easily feel tired, cranky and experience headaches.
Another tip: kids can often get sidetracked and forget to drink water throughout the day, so you could set timed alerts on your phone to prompt the whole family to take a drinking break. That way, you can all stay hydrated in the heat.