5 Parental Hacks for Keeping Your Kids Hydrated—and How Much They Need
Cameron-Leigh Henningon September 12, 2022.
All living things need water to survive, including your child. Along with milk, water is the best liquid for kids because it's very healthy with no calories and no added sugar.Mineral water in particular is some of thehealthiest water. It keeps bones, teeth, and joints healthy, helps important development and bodily functions, and aids children in maintaining a healthy weight into adulthood. Overall, proper hydration is essential for children, but the amount of water your child needs depends on their age.
Recommended Water Intake for Kids by Age Group
The amount of water your kid needs also depends on the weather and their activity levels. Children need even more water when exercising. Your child should drinkfiltered water before, during, and after physical activity—even if they aren’t thirsty because it helps to prevent dehydration during the activity and overhydration afterward. Here's a general guideline of the amount of water needed per day for kids of different ages:
- 6 months: Babies can be introduced to water at 6 months old. They only need 4 to 8 ounces a day until they are a year old because they get the rest of their liquid from formula or breastmilk.
- 1-3 years: 4 glasses
- 4-8 years: 5 glasses
- 9-12 years: 7 glasses
- 13+:8 to 10 glasses
5 Hydration Tips to Get Your Kids to Drink More Water
If you're concerned that your child doesn't want to drink water or might not be drinking enough water, here are a few tips that might help you encourage them to hydrate.
1. Make It Fun With Games and Cute Cups
A fun bottle can encourage your child to drink more water. Carrying around a special bottle or cup will help you keep them hydrated, and refillable bottles don’t generate waste. Your child might prefer a cup with a straw or a small bottle (that's less intimidating) that you can frequently fill up. You can also turn it into a game by challenging your child to drink to a certain level of the cup or bottle. For example, if the bottle has Dora the Explorer printed on the front, encourage your child to drink their water until they reach the bottom of Dora’s shoe.
2. Try Giving Them Fruit-Infused Water
Many children don’t like the taste of plain water, so try to give them some fruit-infused water instead. You can also freeze some fruit into ice cubes or use exciting-shaped ice.
3. Offer Them Water Regularly Throughout the Day
Making water readily available is a good way to encourage your child to drink it. Always make sure to offer them water regularly throughout the day and have their bottle or a glass of water within reach at all times. There areminerals in tap water, so if you live in an area with clean water, or even if you havewater filters, teach your child how to pour water themselves from the faucet.
4. Give Them Fruits and Veggies With a High Water Content
If liquid water is not doing the trick, try and incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their diet. Fruit and vegetables have a high water content, so they're a great way to sneak in some extra hydration. Baby carrots, strawberries, and watermelon are a few child-friendly favorites to try.
5. Have the Potty Talk
You can also turn this into a game. Teach your child that they can tell how much water they’ve been drinking by the color of their urine. Dark-colored urine means not enough water, and light-yellow urine means that they're winning at the water game. If your child is a little older, explain to them that if their urine is darker, they should grab some more water.
How to Keep an Eye Out for Signs of Dehydration
If your child ismildly dehydrated, they may have symptoms of:
- dark yellow or brown urine
- nausea or headaches
- fewer wet nappies or toilet breaks
- dry tongue, mouth, throat, or lips
If your child hassevere dehydration, they may have symptoms of:
- extreme thirst
- pale and have sunken eyes
- cold hands or feet
- breathing faster than usual and an elevated heart rate
- irritable, drowsy, or confused
The best treatment for mild dehydration is to give your child more water immediately. If your child refuses to drink water, try and give them some dehydrated apple juice. If your child shows symptoms of severe dehydration, take them to your nearest GP right away.
Children are often at risk of dehydration, especially when playing sports in hot weather. By the time they feel thirsty, they're likely already dehydrated. It's up to the parents to make sure their child is drinking enough water. When getting your child to drink water, start with yourself and be an example of the behavior you'd like them to follow.