Family Drink Tips

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Some important things to know:

  • Water is the best drink for children. It is cheap and easy to get.
  • Water is essential for many body functions.
  • We need to replace the water we lose every day from breathing, sweating and going to the toilet.
  • Children lose fluid faster than adults, which makes it important to offer them plenty of fluids to drink during the day.

How much do children need to drink?

This depends on your child’s age and how active they are. The recommended daily amounts of fluid for children are:

  • about 5 glasses (1.2 litres) for 4-8 year olds
  • about 6 glasses (1.6 litres) for 9-13 year olds - a glass is 250 mL
  • More water is needed if children are very active or if it’s a hot day.

Tips for encouraging your child to drink water:

  • Get your child their own individual water bottle for school – small clear bottles of about 300-500 mL are best for children.
  • In warm weather, freeze your child’s water bottle to send to school.* Show your child that you enjoy drinking water too.
  • At meal times, serve everyone at the table with a glass of water.
  • Show your child that you enjoy drinking water too.
  • At home,  keep a jug or bottle of  water in the fridge and offer fun straws or ice.
  • When you visit friends or relatives, ask for water for your child before they offer cordial or soft drink.
  • Always pack a water bottle with you when you go out.

What about milk?

  • Milk is an important source of calcium, which is needed for strong bonesand teeth.
  • Offer plain (unflavoured) milk most of the time.
  • Reduced-fat milk is recommended for primary school aged children.
  • Milkshakes or fruit smoothies made by blending soft fruit (e.g. strawberries or banana) with milk and yoghurt can help encourage children to enjoy milk.
  • Soy milk with added calcium is a good alternative for children who are unable to drink cow’s milk.

What about fruit juice?

  • Fruit juice is high in natural sugar.
  • Drinking a lot of fruit juice can damage your teeth.
  • Whole fruit is better than fruit juice.
  • If offering your child fruit juice, keep it to a small glass and only sometimes.
  • Other sweet drinks such as soft drink, cordial, sports drink and fruit juice drinks are not needed as they are full of sugar and offer little else in terms of nutrition.