Q: My toddler will drink only juice, which we dilute with water. Still, I worry about her getting enough fluids. How can I get her to drink more water?
A: Your toddler isn’t alone. Many studies show a significant percentage of children have never drunk a cup of plain water. This is so unfortunate. Water is an essential part of a healthy diet. What’s more, such substitutes as juice can actually be harmful, causing diarrhea and dental cavities. They also offer little of the nutrition your child needs, take away appetite and cause picky eating.
I would like parents and caregivers to offer water from the get-go, so children are accustomed to it. At this stage, you can try gradually decreasing the proportion of juice to water in your toddler’s cup until you are serving just water. During this juice-weaning process, you can keep offering water in between servings of diluted juice; it will also help for your toddler to see you drinking water too.
After a while, offer only water to quench thirst. It will not be easy, but since this is an important health issue, please persevere.