9 Ways Moms Help Their Kids Cut Back on Sugary Drinks

Liz Alterman | Jan 27, 2017 Tweens & Teens
9 Ways Moms Help Their Kids Cut Back on Sugary Drinks
Image: Nadia Cruzova/Shutterstock

Nadia Cruzova/Shutterstock

When we think of kids consuming sugar, we typically picture cupcakes, cookies, and maybe even ice cream, but it turns out they're drinking plenty of it, too. In light of recent a study that showed close to 30 percent of kids consume two or more sugary beverages a day, we asked moms and dads to share some of their best strategies for keeping kids away from super-sweet beverages.

Take a look at the brilliant ways they're reducing their kids' sugar intake, and see if any ideas might work for your family when you find the kids clamoring for those not-so-good-for-you drinks. 

  • Teach by Example

    Rus Limon/Shutterstock

    "Model, model, model. Do your best to choose water or non-sugary beverages throughout the day. It definitely registers with kids when they see you drinking healthy options, but it makes just as big an impact when they hear you say, 'No thank you, I'd like water, please,' in response to being offered a sugary drink," notes Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP, pediatric speech language pathologist and feeding specialist, who is also the author of Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater

  • Create an Aquarium

    Melanie Portock

    "Engage kids in the fun of setting up a water station in your home.  Water containers with spouts are inexpensive and fun for kids to customize. One of my favorite tips is to let kids add one clean plastic sea creature to the water each day, gradually creating an aquarium inside the container. Your children will love to visit the aquarium each day, filling up their water cups in the process. The more water is seen as fun at home, the less appealing sugary drinks become in other environments," says Potock.

  • Flavor Water With Fruit

    GANNA MARTYSHEVA/Shutterstock

    "Let kids choose pieces of fruit to enhance their water bottles and keep interest keen all day long. Favorite combinations that kids adore are kiwi and strawberry or cucumber and mint," Potock shares. 

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  • DIY Seltzer


    "We picked up a SodaStream system, which turns regular water into seltzer," says mom Chris Johannsen. "The kids love it and we're all drinking a lot more water."

  • Friendly Competition

    Focal Point/Shutterstock

    "Last year, my pediatrician really stressed the importance of kids drinking enough water," says mom-of-three Katie Farley. "Before that, my kiddos were juice box fiends. So I let them each pick out a water bottle, and at the start of the day I fill them up -- then we see who finishes all the water at the end of the day, and that kid gets a sticker. Nothing fancy -- but it works."

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  • Opt for Smoothies

    Olga Pink/Shutterstock

    "I have a 3- and 6-year-old who love sugary drinks, but I make smoothies for them," says mom Tamara South. "I also make ice pops with 100 percent juice to keep them from wanting sugary drinks outside."

  • Education Is Key


    "I don't allow soda or other drinks and not even juice," notes Bree Parker, a relationship coach and mom of two. "So when they do get it, it's a treat. We've had many talks on how caffeine is not good either. I've also shown the kids videos on how sugar can be an addiction just like drugs and how it turns directly to fat too. My daughter had these videos in school that showed the effects of soda and sweets on the body and now she will not drink bad drinks, but it's tough with all the pressure now that Starbucks is cool, according to teens."

  • Practice Moderation


    "My daughter is in high school now and so she's really busy all the time, but we make a weekly date for cappuccino and catching up," says Abby Lee, mom of three. "I believe in 'everything in moderation.' Once a week makes it a looked-forward-to treat." 

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  • Just Say 'No'


    "We dusted off the old-school phrase 'No, water is just fine' and use that," explain moms Lisa and Lee, cofounders of L&L's Think 'N' Fun, which produces community-building events for families in New York City.

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