Don’t Give Too Much Beverages For Children Omar Grant April 20, 2015 Misc I Want A Drink! Children love beverages; they love to drink milk, juice, Kool-Aid, soda, Gatorade, Powerade, flavored waters, and the like. In my line of work, I see “over-beveraged” children on a daily basis. I hear, “my child doesn’t like water,” more times than I can count! Can I just start by saying how ridiculous that is? Children might THINK they know what they “like” but the reality is, children will take what is given. How many kids aren’t going to pick a sugary beverage over water when given the option? Not many, I can tell you that. So what am I proposing exactly? Please stop “over-beveraging” your children. It can lead to: – Poor appetite – Malnutrition – Dental cavities/decay – Overweight So how can YOU prevent having a child that refuses water? 1. Stop with the juice! Believe it or not but children do not need fruit juice. Try giving them some real fruit! Unless you make your own homemade juices or smoothies, avoid buying the store bought varieties. Encourage water! 2. Start the habit young! Start offering a little water as soon as the child starts eating solid foods. Avoid juice until 1 year or older and avoid offering whole milk or juice first; water. water. water first! 3. Break the milk mentality. Children usually begin being “over-beveraged” when they wean from breast milk or formula. Instead of offering water, parents feel that children NEED lots of whole milk and juice as they did their formula or Mother’s milk. When I tell parents to cut back on milk or juice, I routinely hear, ”well what are they supposed to drink?” How about some WATER!! Children should have no more than 1 (8 oz) cup of whole milk (if that) and <4 oz of watered down juice (preferably homemade, if any). 4. Avoid flavored waters. Flavored waters are no better than sugary beverages. Why? Artificial flavors and ingredients. Kids should not be drinking anything with artificial flavors, colors, chemicals, or electrolytes! That goes for you too! 5. Be firm. If your child is truly thirsty, he or she WILL drink water. Stick to your guns! Tough it out through the tantrum. Remember who the parent is! Children are smarter than some people give them credit for. Of course they know if they kick, scream, and cry loud enough, mom or dad will give in to them. Even though I am not yet a mother, I often tell people to practice a bit of “tough love.” If it works for Supernanny, I think it will work for you!