Nutrition Foundation

3 Ways to Help Your Children Stay Hydrated this Summer

Ensure that your children get plenty of liquids to stay active and healthy this summer while helping them learn good hydration habits for a lifetime.

Why is Staying Hydrated Important for Kids?

Children, unlike adults, don’t recognise thirst, especially when they are busy playing and having fun. This makes them particularly vulnerable to dehydration, especially during the hot summer months. Your children need to have the right fluid intake not just to stay hydrated but also to:

- Help with digestion

- Transport nutrients to different parts of the body

- Flush out waste from the body

- Lubricate body tissues and joints

- Control body temperature

- Maintain healthy blood volumes

How much Fluids do Children Need per Day?

The amount of fluid your child needs depends on several factors like age, gender, physical activity levels, and the outside temperature.

The recommended daily intake of water for children is:

- 5 to 8 years – approx 1 litre (around 5 glasses)

- 9 to 12 years – approx 1.5 litres (around 7 glasses)

- 13 years and over – approx 2 litres (around 8 to 10 glasses)

How to Identify if Your Child is dehydrated?

Two-thirds of our body is made up of water and symptoms to find if your child is dehydrated include:

- Light-headedness or dizziness

- Nausea and frequent headaches

- Dark, yellow urine with a concentrated smell

- Dry lips, mouth, tongue, and throat

- Mood changes (irritable, drowsy, flushed or tired)

Here are some tips to ensure that your child stays hydrated throughout the day:

Get Fun, Reusable Water Bottles for Each Child

Ensure that you have clean water bottles for each child. Keep these bottles labelled, full and accessible (out of sight, out of mind). If your kids find it boring to sip plain water, try to make it more fun by adding fresh fruit slices like lemon, strawberry or even a few mint leaves to add flavour to the water.

One mommy tip – I mark my kids’ bottles using a permanent marker at the 1/3 cup level. They know that when their water goes down to this mark, they should bring it to mommy for a refill. This way, they keep their bottles refilled throughout the day.

Provide your Kids with Nutritious, Kid-friendly Hydrating Drinks

While water is the standard fluid to prevent dehydration, kids often get tired of drinking plain water. Instead, you can provide them with other nutritious and healthy drinks to help them stay hydrated. Sadly, the juices and other drinks available in supermarkets are loaded with sugar and harmful preservatives.

You can alternatively opt for milk and use it to make homemade smoothies and milkshakes. Look for milk fortified with calcium and vitamin D, so that your children get added nutrients with each sip. You can also provide your kids with electrolyte drinks loaded with magnesium, sodium, potassium, and calcium, which helps your kids stay hydrated and energised.

Serve plenty of Fruits and Veggie Snacks throughout the Day

Fruits and veggies are nutrition powerhouses. They are packed with essential minerals, vitamins, fibre, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. What more, most fruits and vegetables contain high water content around 80 to 90% water.

Make sure to serve your kids at least three to five servings of fruits and vegetables with every meal and for snacks. Some hydrating fruits and vegetables include cucumber, watermelon, lettuce, carrot, radishes, gourds, strawberries and more. You can blend these fruits and vegetables into a tasty smoothie using milk and a dash of honey.

Smoothies are a great way to ensure that your child stays hydrated and nourished on hot summer days. You can even turn smoothies into homemade popsicles for a cool summery treat.

Keep Your Children Hydrated and Energised with the Right Drinks

Don’t wait for your kids to tell you that they are thirsty. This is because, by the time children realize that they are thirsty, they are already dehydrated by around 3%. Instead, make sure that you offer them water and other hydrating healthy foods and beverages throughout the day. Use the tips listed above to help your kids build the right hydration habits, right from an early age.