We all know staying hydrated is important, especially in those summer months. The benefits of proper hydration are many, but it can be tough to convince your kids of that. In order to take care of your little ones and encourage their water intake, here are some helpful tips for keeping your kids hydrated.
But first, let’s go over what those benefits actually are. Healthy skin is typically an easy one for the mamas to remember, but hydration is also important for regulating body temperature and helping to digest food.
Hydration and Dehydration
Children aren’t always aware when they become thirsty, and so they can be at greater risk for dehydration. If they are taking frequent potty breaks, you’re probably in the clear. However, signs of dehydration can include headaches, poor concentration, cracked lips and dry mouth, constipation, sluggishness, and of course, dark urine.
Kids under the age of 8 need 4-6 glasses of water a day, depending on their age, size and activity. For ages 8 and up, 6-8 is recommended. These numbers will be higher for very active kids and on hot days.
Tips for Keeping Kids Hydrated
- Always take water with you when out with your kids. If it’s a hot day, bring a frozen water bottle or pack a small lunch box and ice pack. If your child is participating in physical activity like sports or playing at the park, encourage them to drink water before, after and during.
- Make sure you provide water at meal times and with snacks, and set the example by having a glass yourself. Always encourage your children to drink water, even if they ask for something else, like juice or milk.
- Explain to your child why drinking water is important. Let them know it keeps them healthy so they can continue to play and do all their favorite physical activities.
What if my kid doesn’t like water?
Children who say they don’t like water can be harder to keep hydrated, but parents always have to have a few tricks up their sleeves.
- Try infusing water with slices of fresh fruit to add some flavor, or look for flavored water options at your local grocery store (sugar-free and color-free preferred).
- Kids also love getting to make choices. Try letting them choose which water bottle or cup they want to drink their water out of. You can also buy a cup with their favorite toy or animated character on it and designate it their special water-only cup.
- Water is best for hydration, but children can get at least some fluids from other sources as well. Certain fruits and vegetables have a high water content, like watermelon, citrus, cucumber, celery and lettuce. Bone broth is also a nutritious way to intake liquids, plus it provides a ton of nutrients and vitamins.
Creating good hydration habits now will help them learn the importance of health and taking care of our bodies. And while you are monitoring their water intake, it will be a good reminder to drink water yourself!