This is the time of year that kids love best. They’re out of school and with the hot days and long hours of sunshine, they’re in full play mode.

As a parent or caregiver, you naturally want to help your kids enjoy their summer and keep them safe and healthy at the same time. Besides setting limits on their activities and encouraging the right kinds of play, it is also important to make sure your kids drink enough water this summer.

Just as kids’ bodies as a whole need enough water to function properly, so do their smiles. Most municipal water supplies contain fluoride, which helps to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities. Many studies have been conducted showing that children who regularly drink fluoridated water have fewer cavities than kids who don’t.

Good, clean water also helps wash away food particles and bacteria that can adhere to your children’s teeth. Left alone, this debris gives bacteria a prime feeding ground, which can lead to cavities and tartar buildup. Drinking sufficient amounts of water each day helps keep bacteria levels down and kids’ teeth clean and healthy.

With these thoughts in mind, below are a few great ways to help your kids drink more water this summer.

Avoid Having Soda Around the House

If given a choice, kids will choose soda over water most of the time. But if there’s no soda in the house, then water can be their drink of choice. If kids complain and keep asking for soda, just stand your ground and tell them that water is better for them. Eventually, they will learn to love water for its clean, sparkling goodness.

Rather than having cold soda in the fridge, fill up a pitcher or bottle with water so that it’s available when kids want some cool refreshment. Simply put, no soda means that kids will drink more water. Not only will their oral health thrive, you will also cut out unnecessary calories and improve their overall health.

Give Your Kids Their Own Water Bottle or Cup

When kids have something they can call their own, they pay more attention to it. Make drinking water something special by giving your children their own bottle or cup that is only used for water.

Take them to the store and let them pick out a cup of their choice (that meets your approval, of course). As an added bonus, you may want to help them pick out a plain cup that they can decorate with kid-safe paint or markers to make it truly their own. Each child could have their cup that they’re responsible for keeping clean (if they’re old enough) and use just for water.

You can also pick up some fun, festive straws that can encourage kids to drink more water. When an activity is more fun and game-like, kids are more likely to do it on their own.

Put Fruit in Their Water

Give your kids an added treat by infusing their water with berries, lemons, limes, and even cucumbers. This will give their water an extra twist of flavor, plus add a little bit of nutrition at the same time. It’s a sneaky way of getting them to drink more water.

You can also freeze fruit into ice cubes to add a burst of color to their drink. Or, just use frozen strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, and other fruits as a replacement for ice. Your kids will love the extra special treat and it will help eliminate their cravings for something sweet.

Set Up a Reward System For Drinking Water

To encourage your kids to finish their water bottle, give them a sticker or allow them extra play time. You can even be creative and promise to do a silly dance or make funny faces for them if they drink their water without being told. Make their water drinking experience as pleasant and fun as possible and they will be more likely to do it on their own.

Before long, drinking water will be just another part of their daily routine and they may not even care about the stickers or dances any longer.

Drink Lots of Water Yourself

Just like any other activity your kids see you do, kids will be more likely to drink water when they see you do. Make a special effort to let them see you filling up your own water bottle or cup. Be sure to take it with you in the car when you leave for work or other activities.

When they see you with your own water, point out that you’re trying to be healthier by drinking more water. They will soon catch on that drinking water is a key to a strong body and feeling good each day.

There are many ways to help your kids drink more water this summer. If you come up with any other good suggestions, please be sure to let us know. If you need to schedule checkups for your kids (or yourself), just give us a call at 845-670-5423 and we’ll be glad to help.