My toddler doesn't like to drink water. She doesn't seem to notice that she is thirsty, even if her pee is a dark yellow. How do I help her to recognize that her body is thirsty and that drinking enough water is wonderful?
I hate to drink water too. I am not a toddler, but I know how she feels. I hate the way it sits in my stomach. Here are my suggestions (including a few from my mother that worked on toddler-me):
- adjust the temp. She may not like cold water because it hurts her teeth, or some other reason. Try room temp instead. I actually can stand to drink an 8 oz glass of water that has been left out overnight (my husband refers to this as "stale water" but I think it tastes more pure after a day of resting) Or, perhaps it's not cold enough. Very cold water will hide any mineral or other 'flavors' the water may have.
- try ice chips if she doesn't mind the cold. My kids love "ice-slushies."
- don't force a whole glass or even a half. A sip here and there, repeated enough times, should suffice to keep her hydrated.
- forget water altogether. There are plenty of other sources of hydration. Fruits and veggies with a high water content, soups, decaffeinated teas, and milk are all good, healthy sources of fluid.
Starting around this age, they figure out they have control over what actually makes it into their mouth. They won't starve themselves or die of self inflicted thirst though, so just do the best you can. Start perfecting those compromising skills; you're going to need them ;)
In case you are wondering, according to babycenter you only need to get 1.3 liters (or about 4 cups) on average into her per day, and this includes intake from foods.
IMHO the human body is quite good at regulating such important things as water and salt balance. Kids will drink if they need to. For the same reason I am not worried when my toddler shakes some salt in his hand and licks that off. It'll even out.
In general toddlers do drink and eat enough for them to survive as long as something is available, so unless there is some very unrealistic and rare disease, there is no need to worry about that. However survive and optimal are different things.
Kids usually love everything sweet, so instead of pure water, you might want to add something to it that changes the taste enough for her to no longer consider it water.