Whether your children like drinking water or not, there are plenty of ways you can help them get their daily intake.
Did you know that your child’s body is made up of about 70% water? Water has many essential functions in the body, including regulating your child’s temperature, helping their body digest food, and aiding in excreting waste.
While hydration is essential for all children, active kids need even more water to stay hydrated. Kids should hydrate before, during, and after sports practices.
How to keep your child hydrated
Here are a few ways you can ensure your child stays hydrated.
Encourage your child to drink water throughout the day: Drinking water keeps kids hydrated in a natural and healthy way. Water has no calories or sweeteners like fruit juices, sodas, or sports beverages.
If your child doesn’t like the taste of water: Try adding slices of fruits such as lemon or orange to the water for variety and flavour.
Let your child choose their water bottle: Let your kids pick out their own drinking cups or travel bottles in their favourite colours or decorated with their favourite characters. Buy a set of crazy straws. Invest in ice cube trays that make ice in fun shapes.
Stay away from caffeinated beverages: Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning your child might have to urinate more, causing them to lose more fluid and become dehydrated even quicker. Avoid giving your child beverages with caffeine, including iced coffee, iced tea, and sodas.
In addition to water, encourage your child to eat fruits and veggies: Many fruits and vegetables have a high water content. Offer watermelon, strawberries, broccoli, celery, cucumbers and other watery fruits and veggies for snacks.
How much water does my child need?
The amount your child needs will vary depending on their age, size, and activity level. For children under eight years of age, at least four to six glasses of water are recommended. For children older than eight years of age, a minimum of six to eight glasses is recommended.
Detecting dehydration in children
By the time children are thirsty, they’re already at least 3%dehydrated, according to Dr Holly Benjamin, a professor of Paediatrics and Orthopedic Surgery.
Symptoms of dehydration in children include:
- Dark yellow urine
- Dry mouth
When to call a doctor?
You may be able to help your child rehydrate at home by:
- Giving them unsweetened fluids.
- Letting them eat fruit and veggies with a high water content.
- Encouraging them to rest.
- Keeping an eye on them for other symptoms.
Call the doctor if:
- Any of their symptoms get worse.
- They have diarrhoea.
- They are lethargic or sleepier than normal.
- They seem confused or disorientated.