Children ages 1-3 require at least four 8 ounce cups of water each day to maintain their hydration, according to the East Carolina University Department of Medicine.
Yet young children have a hard time breaking away from their work (play) to drink water. Convenient access is key, and the team at Isla Vista Youth Project’s Children’s Center discovered how to make it easy for their toddlers and preschoolers:
- The center purchased PBA-free water bottles, labeled with each child’s name.
- The bottles are in a consistent location in the classroom, easy for children to find quickly.
- Teachers take the bottles outside in a bin so children know where to find (and put back) their bottles.
- The bottles stay at the center and are cleaned daily in a sanitation machine.
Unexpected benefits include parents asking to purchase extra water bottles for other children in their family, and less wear and tear on the outdoor water fountain.
The center also makes use of the free book from First 5 of Santa Barbara County “Potter the Otter: A Tale About Water,” accessible for SBC residents while supplies last at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PottertheOtterbook. Also available is the kid friendly Potter website at www.potterloveswater.com.
“Our children are thrilled to have their own water bottles,” according to IVYP Program Director Kathy Walsh. “They understand they need to drink water, especially when they are active. During a recent mini-jogathon we held, our children asked for their water bottles so they could stay hydrated along the way.”