Its official folks, summer has started and the heat is here for the long haul. Most of us are probably spending a large chunk of our day outside, on a slippin’ slide or at the pool with the sweet sound of kiddos’ laughter while they splash around in the background. Naturally, kids are more active in the summer time now that school is out. However, being surrounded by water doesn’t necessarily mean our kids’ bodies are receiving the hydration it needs. That goes for you too, Mom! Hydration is a HOT topic right now (pun intended), and since my future posts will provide family fitness tips, I wanted to talk about keeping children healthy and hydrated as their outdoor activity increases this summer!
Dehydration can creep up quickly if we aren’t actively monitoring our kids for symptoms and taking preventative steps to avoid it. Dehydration can be caused by sweat inducing activity without a lot of fluid intake or illness without proper fluid consumption. So how do you know if your child is on the verge of dehydration? Look for lower energy levels, more irritability, cold and dry skin or lips, and less trips to the toilet.
Your next question might be, how much water does my child really need to drink per day? Generally, kids and adults should drink 6-8 cups per day. Here’s a helpful breakdown –
Kids Total Daily Beverage and Drinking Water Requirements
|Age Range||Gender||Total Water (Cups/Day)|
|4 to 8 years||Girls and Boys||5|
|9 to 13 years||Girls||7|
|14 to 18 years||Girls||8|
Data are from Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) Tables. Recommended Daily Allowance and Adequate Intake Values: Total Water and Macronutrients.
While kids are active, it’s even more important to hydrate. Kids should consume 1-2 cups of water every 15-20 minutes while physically active and sweating.
Prevention seems simple. Drink more water, right? Sure, but that’s boring. Here are a few tips to help liven up those water breaks and stay ahead of hydration….
- Watermelon! As the name states, watermelon is full of, you guessed it, WATER! It’s a naturally sweet way to keep kiddos hydrated. Slice some up and have it handy before and after play time.
- Flavor water with sliced or cut up strawberries, melon, lemon, and cucumber. Cut several options up and let your kids experiment with new, natural flavors. Steer clear of the flavored powders which contain harsh dyes and artificial sweeteners.
- Use incentives. Kids are always up for a challenge! Most water bottles come with measurements printed right on them. If yours doesn’t, make your own with the help of those little ones. Provide incentives for drinking water and reaching marked measurements on the bottle. Try your best to keep the incentives healthy and not related to junk food or video game time. Maybe your kiddo has been eyeing the latest and greatest fidget item! There are many stores with fun gadgets for $5 or less!
- Set a timer. I’m not kidding. Sounds silly, but it’s so helpful! When kids are running around having a blast, even sweating profusely, they can forget how thirsty they are. While kids are playing outside, set a timer reminding them to take a few swigs of water every 5 minutes. Mom, you can do this too!
If you feel dehydration is setting in, contact your medical provider for further advice. These are just some small tips to help you and your littles ones stay healthy and hydrated. Get creative and share ideas you have with us!
Ready? Set? Hydrate!