As a parent, it’s our job to make sure our kids drink enough water to avoid dehydration in the first place. When we get dehydrated, our body and brain don’t receive enough fluid to function properly. Our body naturally loses water throughout the day when we sweat, breathe and use the restroom. As adults we’ve learned to monitor our thirst and can easily grab a glass of water when we feel thirsty. But we can’t always rely on kids to tell us when they’re thirsty or recognize when they start to feel dehydrated.
Signs your child may be dehydrated:
- They are low on energy, grumpy or lethargic.
- Not using the bathroom or have dark urine.
- Dry lips, mouth and tongue.
Remember, severe dehydration is dangerous. If you think your child is severely dehydrated always consult your doctor immediately.
How much water your child needs ultimately depends on their weight and age. On the especially hot days or if your child is playing sports make sure they drink a little extra water! As a general guide, here’s how much H2O kids need every day:
- Toddlers: 2 - 4 cups
- 4-8 years: 5 cups
- 9 -13 years: 7 - 8 cups
- 14 and up: 8 - 11 cups
I make sure to always ask my daughter if she is thirsty. This has helped her learn to identify the feeling of being thirsty and communicate to us when she needs water. I bring a water bottle everywhere, so it’s easy to take sips throughout the day. My daughter even has her own special unicorn water bottle that she loves!
Convincing a child to drink water isn’t always easy. I’ve definitely gotten the stink eye after handing my daughter a glass of water. Do you need some mommy tricks to get your child to drink more water? Don’t worry, I’ve tried them all. Here are some fun ones that have worked for me:
Give them a special water bottle or sippy cup - my daughter has her own special water cup at home. We make it part of our daily routine to fill it up in the morning together. I make sure to reward her every time she finishes a cup of water with a big high five (or the promise of a sweet treat).
Silly straws - reusable straws are making a big come back. Not only are silly straws a fun way to drink water, they also reduce our use of disposable, plastic straws.
Use frozen fruit for ice - this is one of my favorite life hacks for infused water. Add frozen fruit to your water with (or instead of) ice to give your water some flavor.
Water down juice – whenever I pour a glass of juice I always add extra water. Kids usually don’t notice.
Drinking more water isn't the only way to stay hydrated. Adding hydrating foods to the snack list is great way to improve everyone’s hydration.
Here are some high water content foods perfect for summer:
Watermelon - My favorite summer fruit, watermelon just happens to be one of the MOST hydrating foods! So, get that watermelon baler ready! Watermelons are over 90% water!
Strawberries - Strawberries are also over 90% water and also pack in a healthy dose of fiber and antioxidants. Another hydrating fruit kids will love!
Smoothies - A great way to sneak in extra hydration are smoothies. They make a yummy breakfast or afternoon snack!
Popsicles - I make my own popsicles during the summer. These are great reward treats and perfect for hot summer days!
This is a simple smoothie recipe to get you started. It’s easy to experiment with different combinations. Get creative! Use non-dairy alternatives, add different kinds of fruit or even sneak in some veggies.
- 1/3 cup coconut water
- 3/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
- 1 cup frozen blueberries (or frozen berry blend)
- 1 banana
- 1 heaping tablespoon almond butter
Simply blend everything in a food processor until smooth, pour into popsicle molds and freeze! I like to use non-dairy alternatives, like almond milk.
- 1 pound strawberries, washed and stems removed
- 1 large ripe banana
- 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
- 1/2 cup milk