I often think parenting is like a maze: you don’t get directions and you have no idea what you’re doing or whether or not you’ll make it out alive.

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve stumbled blindly in the dark, hoping that the way I handle things and the choices I make are the right ones.

I always thought that things would get easier as my children grew, but sometimes I think it might actually get harder. It certainly brings different challenges.

I used to worry about instilling a good sleep routine and making my babies were fed, dry and happy. Now I worry about my little fussy eater, setting behavioural boundaries and being a firm but fair disciplinarian.

One thing that I didn’t worry about was their fluid intake. My children love their fruit juice and could drink it by the bucketful if I let them.

Now I always knew that fruit juice contains sugar – all fruits have a certain level of natural sugars after all – but I figured it was good for my children, especially as it can count towards their 5-a-day.

I was being naive. It turns out that fruit juice isn’t as healthy as I thought. I’ve recently learned that the NHS recommends children only have one glass a day, preferably with a meal, due to its sugar content.

It’s another twist in that parenting maze.

It seems that I’m not the only parent who doesn’t know how much sugar in drinks is acceptable for children. New research shows that 6 in ten of us are confused by it all.

In an effort to help us out, Vita Coco Kids teamed up with expert nutritionist, Amanda Hamilton, to produce some simple and clear guidelines.

Called The Sugar Maze, it’s a handy infographic that easily explains what the best drinks are for our children and highlighting those we should try to avoid.

The Sugar Maze, infographic

Vita Coco Kids: a healthy alternative

As you can see from the sugar maze, there are a number of better drinks for children than fruit juice. This got me thinking about other types of fluids that I should be offering Olivia and William, especially as neither are particularly fond of plain water.

Thankfully, Vita Coco Kids was there to help me out and sent me a selection of their drinks for my children to try.

Vita Coco Kids drinks

Vita Coco Kids drinks contain naturally flavoured coconut water and mixed with either apple and blackcurrant, or mango and pineapple.

I am pleased to say that these quickly became my son’s drink of choice. This is a HUGE endorsement for Vita Coco Kids when you bear in mind that William can be very picky about what he eats and drinks.

sugar maze, children's drinks

Olivia is not quite as enamoured with the drinks as William, but she does enjoy the apple and blackcurrant flavour. Nevertheless, the VCK drink cartons have proven to be a good lunch box alternative to juice and smoothie boxes.

Vita Coco Kids Lunchbox drink

It’s at least given me some peace of mind that my children are staying hydrated without being pumped full of sugar and calories.

Now onto the next parenting challenge…