How to Keep Your Children Hydrated This Summer

Cooleraid • 09/04/2021

Most people now know that our bodies are mostly made up of water – 70% to be exact! Water has so many really important functions in our bodies. It regulates our temperature, digests food and excretes waste.  We lose water throughout the day when we sweat, breathe and urinate. It’s really important to replace the water that we’ve lost to prevent dehydration.

Children are more likely to become dehydrated than adults. This is due, in part, to their size. They have a larger proportion of their skin available to lose sweat and be exposed to heat. Children can also struggle to recognise that they’re thirsty and might need to be encouraged and reminded to drink. There are a few ways to tell if your child is well hydrated and it’s important to familiarise yourself with them.

How do I know if my child is hydrated?

Frequent trips to the toilet or wet nappies are the easiest ways to tell if your child is hydrated. You should also look out for these common symptoms of dehydration:

  • Headaches
  • Poor concentration
  • Thirst
  • Cracked lips
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Lethargy
  • Dark urine

How much water should my child need?

The amount of water your child needs will be different depending on how old they are, what size they are and how active they are. For children under 8 years old, at least 4-6 glasses of water are recommended. For children older than 8 years of age a minimum of 6-8 glasses are recommended.

If your child is really active they will need more than the recommended amount of fluid. Kids will also need more water on hot days or when they are unwell.

How much water should an active child drink?

Some children are more active, such as those involved in regular active extracurricular activities. Exercise is really important for the body and getting those habits in place early can be key to an ongoing healthy lifestyle – so it’s great if you have an active child. But the amount of sweat children produce increases with the intensity of their activity, and the more they sweat, the more they need to drink. Not drinking enough fluid to replace sweat loss can lead to dehydration and can impact performance, concentration and behaviour. Try to ensure that your child drinks water before, during and after physical exertion.

Tips to help your kids stay hydrated!

  • Pack a water bottle for school and when you go out. Try a frozen water bottle in summer.
  • Encourage your child to drink water before, after and during physical activity
  • Always offer water with meals and snacks
  • Encourage your child to drink water, even if they don’t like it!
  • Talk to children about self-care, how special they are and how important water is in looking after their bodies.
  • Consider a water cooler for home, or suggest one to their school. Ice cold water is often more inviting and exciting than tap water.

What if my child doesn’t like water?

  • Try adding slices of fruits such as lemon or orange to water, for variety and flavour.
  • Choice is a powerful thing. Let your kids choose their own drink bottle or serve water in colourful glasses or jugs.
  • Lead by example! Make a point of drinking water with your kids and exaggerate your enjoyment of that and how much better you feel for doing it.
  • Experiment with temperature. You could have a jug of water in the fridge or add ice-cubes in different shapes or colours.  Try warm water in the winter.

Water is the best choice to keep your kids well hydrated throughout the day. It contains no extra energy and quenches your thirst like nothing else. What steps can you take today to gradually increase the water intake for your family? Let’s aim for a healthier tomorrow.

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