Access to drinking water throughout the day gives children the opportunity to stay hydrated which may improve their cognitive function (readiness to learn), dental and physical health. When children drink more water, they consume fewer calories from sugar-sweetened beverages, increase their energy levels and ability to concentrate.
Here are a few Policy, System and Environmental change (PSE) examples to promote the availability of healthy beverages:
- Keep small pitchers or jugs of water in the classroom and take them to the playground and allow children to pour water into reusable or disposable cups when thirsty.
- Use child-sized pitchers so children can enhance their motor skills while pouring water for themselves.
- Clean and sanitize water pitchers, dispensers and reusable cups daily.
- Ask parents to donate age appropriate reusable water bottles to the class.
- Encourage students to carry water bottles throughout the school day.
- Ask parents to donate bottles of water to the classroom.
- Recommend parents provide water for healthy classroom celebrations.
- Ensure children drink water before and after physical activity.
- Add orange, lemon, or lime slices, or fresh herbs like mint to water pitchers to enhance taste and encourage children to drink water.
- Educate parents about the importance of water consumption, and about limiting children’s juice consumption to 4-6 oz. of 100% fruit juice per day.
At childcare sites:
- Reinforce the importance of drinking water through lessons.
- Serve unflavored low-fat 1% or non-fat milk
- Talk and read about water and healthy beverages during circle time or other class times.
- Have students create posters about the importance of drinking water and healthier beverages.
- Encourage staff to model healthy behaviors, including drinking from reusable bottles in front of the children.
Make Water Available Throughout the Day (Team Nutrition)