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How to break your child's soda habit

Debbie Wolfe is a mom of two rambunctious boys, wife, and work-at-home mom from Georgia. In her free time (when there is such a thing), she is in the garden or hidden away reading the latest post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama! As interests,...

Help your kids kick a soda addiction for a healthy lifestyle

There's no denying that sodas are addictive. It’s hard to resist that deliciously sweet fizziness.

Although it tastes good and can give you an extra energy boost, sodas offer no nutritional value whatsoever. Studies have shown that its consumption is linked with Type 2 diabetes and obesity, and it may be bad for growing bones.

It's also horrible for teeth. The sugar in soda mixes with the saliva in your mouth to form acids that weaken tooth enamel and may lead to decay.

So you have a kid that’s addicted to soda? The good news is that it's possible to break the habit, but it won’t be easy or quick. Here are a few ways to help break your child’s soda habit.


It's time for a talk about healthy choices, mama. All your kids probably know is that soda tastes good, which is why it's their favorite drink to reach for. While that may be true, it's important to let them know that's it's not the healthiest beverage choice, and there are lots of alternatives out there — that they'll find just as tasty.

Make it a family affair

No soda for kids doesn’t mean a free pass for Mom and Dad. You can control what comes in the home; make cutting a soda habit a family affair. The easiest way to break a habit is to have everyone on board. Kids will follow by example. If they see their parents opting for healthy drinks, they will be sure to follow. Plus, not having soda in the house at all makes it less tempting. Also, when you are eating out, don't order it. Your kids will see you making healthy choices, and they will too.

More: Kids are eating their weight in sugar, and a new app could help

Wean slowly

Like any addiction, cold turkey may not work for everyone, especially kids. If they are used to the caffeine and sugar boost from their favorite soft drink, then stopping it all at once can lead to crankiness and caffeine withdrawal symptoms. Wean them slowly. Start by limiting when they can have soda. Let them have it only with certain meals. Reducing soda intake slowly will help you get the sugar and caffeine withdrawal under control. Just like when you have to break your baby’s Binky or thumb-sucking habit, patience and consistency work best.

Soda alternatives

When you start to wean, try substituting with natural sodas. Natural sodas have fewer artificial ingredients. They don’t contain high-fructose corn syrup and generally contain less sugar than the big brands do. They’re an overall healthier choice, especially if you’re drinking them only occasionally. Diet sodas, however, are not a healthier option. Studies have shown that drinking diet soda actually leads to weight gain. Better yet, try introducing your kids to fruit-infused water. Add citrus slices, berries, watermelon or fresh mint to a pitcher of water, and keep it in the refrigerator. Encourage your kids to drink a glass of the fruit-infused water first, before they have a soda. Keep in mind, though, that with fruit you're still at risk for acid erosion, and consider drinking through a straw to help protect your teeth. Balance out that healthier choice by using a toothpaste that protects their enamel.


Once you see that your kids are putting forth a good effort to reduce their soda consumption, remember to praise them. Kids like to know when they are doing a good job. Offer to take them someplace special, or give them one-on-one time doing something they like. A little acknowledgment for a job well done goes a long way.

More: 20 crazy ways we show love to our kids

Special occasions

Finally, if your kids still can’t completely kick the soda habit, it’s all right to let them have it in moderation. Limit their soda intake to very special occasions. Honestly, you may be able to control the soda intake in your home, but what if they are at a birthday party or with friend at a movie? Hopefully as they grow older, they will make responsible decisions for their health. Until then, a soda every once in a while won’t ruin all your efforts. Keeping them few and far between will help you keep them on track.

More: Can soda make your child more aggressive?

This post was sponsored by ProNamel® 6-12 Years Toothpaste for Kids.

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