No soft drinks for kids as schools join Tap Water Day

Today is the first ever 'Tap Water Day' in the Netherlands. Today, kids will only get water to drink at school and will get lessons on water and its benefits, in an effort to make water drinking more normal than drinking sugary sodas. State Secretary Paul Blokhuis of Public Health kicked off Tap Water Day at primary school Diamant in Het Rooster in Apeldoorn, RTL Nieuws reports.

Water already has a pretty good reputation among young people in the Netherlands, Patricia Schutte of the Netherlands Nutrition Center said to the broadcaster. "It is becoming increasingly common for children to drink water at school. There are also many of those hip water bottles that work well with the youth." It is also easier for children to opt for water in the canteen. "There carafes of water on the table, sometimes with a lemon or a mint leaf in it." Bottles of water in vending machines and water taps are also increasingly common at schools.

The government is playing a role in that, according to Schutte. Over the next two years, around a thousand new water taps will be installed on school yards throughout the Netherlands. And that is a very good thing, because water is the best thirst quencher, contains no calories and has a neutral taste, which means that kids don't get used to a sweet taste, according to the Nutrition Center. 

Tap Water Day is organized by six drinking water companies in the Netherlands. 3,700 classes are participating.

For parents having trouble getting their kids to drink water, the Nutrition Center has the following advice:

  • Make water special, for example by putting it in a jug with mint leaves and slices of lemon, orange or cucumber
  • Pour the water in a fancy cup or bottle to make it more fun and attractive for younger children
  • If a child really does not like water, then a cup of light tea with a nice flavor like strawberry is a good variant. 
  • If a child is used to sweet drinks, wean them off by adding a little bit more water to the drink every time
  • A sweet drink on occasion is no problem, but make sure the child understands that this is the exception and water and tea are the standard