By Nicole Spain, Registered Dietitian
With summer here, it is important to help your children stay hydrated! Many kids do not like water and would rather have a sugary juice, soda pop or sports drinks. But don’t buy the bad stuff – instead, take this time to avoid soft drinks, sports drinks, and other sugary drinks. It’s best to get kids in the habit of drinking water at a young age. A child spoiled by flavored drinks may start to refuse water altogether. Understanding the dangers of those alternative drinks is important.
- Filled with sugar or a sugar substitute
- One can (12 ounces) contains up to 10 teaspoons of sugar
- Loaded with preservatives, artificial colors and sulphites
- Many contain caffeine which is a diuretic and actually takes water out of the body
- Many studies link drinking soda with osteoporosis, obesity, tooth decay, and heart disease
It is recommended that kids drink 4 to 8 glasses of water per day for children 2 years and older. Additional amounts may be needed on hot summer days when exercising or playing. Young children often become dehydrated before they even sense they are thirsty due to their higher body surface area and underdeveloped thirst detector mechanism.
Best Ways to Help Keep Kids Hydrated
- Keep cool water handy for children. Keep a pitcher of water and cups nearby where children are playing
- Lead by example – children really do watch what parents do!
- Equip kids with a water bottle when they head out for activities and sports
- Keep water bottles filled and chilled in the refrigerator so they are easy to grab and go on the way out the door
- Encourage plenty of “wet” foods. Many fruits and vegetables have a high water content and can provide a great source of hydration. Examples: oranges, watermelon, celery, lettuce, asparagus, grapefruit, grapes, cucumbers
- Encourage children to drink a glass of water with their meals or snacks
- Place a glass of water by their bed at night
- Have a drinking cup available in the bathroom for teeth brushing time
- Limit soda and sugary foods
- Make your own popsicles out of pureed fruit.
- Dilute juices with ½ water to help provide more water and less sugar calories
- Or better yet, infuse water with fruits to flavor it naturally. Try one of these tasty combinations!
Step 1 – Pick your flavor combination.
Step 2 – Add ingredients to a pitcher and let chill in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours
Step 3 – Drink up!
- Lemon Berry – thinly sliced lemons and strawberry slices
- Cucumber Mint – Thinly slice cucumbers and muddled mint leaves
- Watermelon Basil – Finely chop watermelon (without the rind) and muddled basil
- Cherry Lime – slice cherries in half (remove pit) and add thinly sliced limes