Parents have been shown to have a significant impact on how many sweetened beverages their kids drink through role modeling, availability in the home and family rules. Eight to ten year olds whose parents regularly drink soft drinks are three times more likely to drink soft drinks five or more times a week compared to those whose parents do not regularly drink soft drinks. (Grimm, 2004).
Simple things parents can do to help their kids drink fewer sodas are:
- Role model drinking water and keeping the sweet stuff at a minimum. Children live what they learn and learn what they live. If soda is a big part of parents’ diet, it will likely be a mainstay for their kids too.
- Don’t buy sweetened drinks. If you do, keep them at a minimum. Don’t keep them front and center in the refrigerator. One Lexington mom in our focus groups said she buys sodas but keeps them unrefrigerated in the basement. She brings them out for special occasions so having one is a conscious choice.
- Set some limits. Some families say one soda a day, others say one a week and others say sodas for special occasions only. Whatever limit you choose, display relaxed confidence about it. Don’t make it a big deal, just a matter-of-fact family guideline.