Hydration is one of the most important components of staying healthy. The human body relies on water to function properly. When you don’t drink enough water, your body experiences symptoms like nausea, dry mouth, and headaches.
Children are at a greater risk for dehydration than adults. They enjoy staying active and aren’t aware of how much water they’re drinking each day. If you have a special needs child who has difficulty consuming the proper amounts of water each day, take some time to review these helpful ways to encourage them to drink more water.
Provide Them With a Personal Water Bottle
You may hear people say that they drink beverages more quickly if there’s a straw placed in the drink. Water bottles with a straw are much easier for children with special needs to drink and help keep them more hydrated than an open cup or even a sippy cup for younger children.
Pick out a water bottle with an interesting design, or let your child choose it for themselves! The alluring design and accessible nature of the water bottle will pique your child’s interest in drinking water.
Monitor Water Intake
Using a personal water bottle helps parents observe how much water their children drink. Many special needs children become hyper-focused and forget to eat or drink at times. If they’ve forgotten to drink water throughout the day, they’ll soon feel the symptoms of dehydration. That’s why it’s important for parents to encourage their children to drink water and monitor their water intake. As the day goes by, keep track of the number of times they finish their water bottle.
Learn a Form of Communication
Not all children speak to communicate. Many children find difficulty in verbally communicating their wants, needs, and emotions. Through trial and error, parents can find an effective method to communicate with their children to understand what they want or need.
If your child is not comfortable with verbal communication, you can try different tactics. Some ways to enhance communication include maintaining eye contact, using photos and pointing to images as needed, and being responsive to your child’s gestures and actions.
Implement a Reward System
Children react to rewards and encouragement. Use your helpful forms of communication with your child to discover a reward that will encourage them to complete their water-drinking goals. Whether your child receives a sticker, gets a new toy, or partakes in their favorite activity, rewards and encouragement provide an incentive to drink more water.
It will take time to communicate this process with your child. Think about what form of reward or gift your child is most responsive to. This will help you establish the system and support your child as they learn to drink more water.
Build a Diet of Water-Rich Foods
Another alternative to drinking plenty of water is to consume woods that are rich in water. Many fruits, such as watermelons, peaches, and apples, and vegetables, such as cucumbers and tomatoes, contain high amounts of water.
When you have a day where drinking water is a challenge, you can improve your child’s water intake through some yummy foods!
It’s incredibly important to remain patient as you and your child navigate the world together. There are many ways to help your special needs child drink more water. With time, you will both learn the most effective methods that work the best!