5 Ways to Keep Your Child Hydrated
Welcome to the heat of summer! July and August are probably the hottest months of the year. Which means that your child is more at risk of dehydration due to high temperatures, excess humidity and fluid loss.
Summer is a time when your kids are likely to be playing outside and in the sun more. There are outings to the beach, swimming pool and many other outdoor activities. Dehydration occurs when the body does not have enough fluids to maintain balance.
Children in particular are more prone to dehydration as they have a lower body weight, and do not have sufficient fluid stores. Also, children tend to have more episodes of diarrhea or be affected by viruses, which can accelerate dehydration.
In addition, babies or young children do not have the ability to verbalize or demonstrate symptoms so Dads we have to be alert! Symptoms of dehydration include: fatigue, dizziness, dry lips, headache, fewer wet diapers, and dark colored urine.
Do not expect your child to tell you that he is THIRST, if this happens he may already be slightly dehydrated. Better offer him fluids during the day to keep him hydrated. Offer WATER preferably and not drinks with calories or caffeine. Water is the MOST important nutrient in our body, as our body is 75% water. Water is not only important to hydrate us but it also helps to:
- The digestion
- Regulates internal temperature and cools
- Transports nutrients and oxygen to cells
- Helps cognitive function
How much water should my child drink?
It all depends on your child's age, weight and physical activity. Children generally need 100ml for each kilogram of weight. Children under 6 months do not need water since their hydration comes from breast milk or formula. Children 4-8 years old need about 1.7L or 7 glasses a day. Compared to adolescents who need between 2.4-3.3L (10-14 glasses per day).
- 1-3 years=1.3L/day (5-6 glasses of water)
- 4-8 years old=1.7L/day (7 glasses a day)
- 9-13 years = 2.1-2.3L/day (8-10 glasses a day)
- 14-18 years old=2.3-3.3L/day (10-14 glasses a day)
My child does not like to drink water, what should I do?
That's one of the most common questions I get from parents. Hydration comes not only from water, but also from food, especially fruits and vegetables. Other liquids also count, such as milk, soups, sugar-free drinks and natural juices. Preferably, opt for water to hydrate it since it does not provide calories or sugar.
Here are more tips and recommendations to keep your little one hydrated this summer:
- Include fruits and vegetables with high water content– Did you know that at least 20% of fluids come from fruits and vegetables? Opt for fruits and vegetables with high water content like cucumber, mushrooms, celery, cantaloupe, watermelon, and strawberries.
- Get creative and dress up the water with colors and flavors or by making water ice creams. Perfect for the summer. Add the seasonal fruits and you have water ice creams. Very good option for snack or dessert. Try kiwi with lemon and honey or mango with strawberry. YUM!
- Gives drinks without calories or sugar but adds color and flavor- Fresh spices such as basil, mint, and rosemary give the water a delicious, fresh flavor. Try making fruit ices with spices. That way the water looks more colorful and attractive.
- Offer water before, during and after physical activities. Especially in humid climates, sweating is hidden and symptoms of dehydration can be masked. The goal is to give 1-2 cups of water every 15-20 minutes while exercising. If your child is going to participate in a very active sport for more than 1 hour, you can supplement with a sports drink to replace lost electrolytes. But only if it is more than 1 hour and the activity is very rigorous, otherwise it offers water.
- Buy fun containers so they are more motivated to drink water and have drinks always available. Don't keep water in hard-to-reach places like behind the refrigerator on tall cabinets. On the contrary, the more visible the water the better!
So that's it, make sure your family stays hydrated!