Water is essential to how the body functions. On average, children ages 1 - 18 are somewhere between 56-60% water. When kids are dehydrated, they can start to lose steam and feel fatigued. Water helps provide your child energy and prevent dehydration. Water supports healthy blood flow and is essential in transporting oxygen to the brain. And unlike typical sports drinks or juice, water doesn’t contain added sugar, salt or empty calories.
Bodies are constantly losing water through sweat, digestion and exhalation. Since kids are always on the go, it’s important to make sure they replenish their water and stay hydrated throughout the day. How can you tell if your child is dehydrated? One way to monitor your child’s hydration by tracking how often they use the restroom and the color of their urine.
When kids are even 2% dehydrated, it can start to impact their ability to focus and cognitive function. Many studies have shown that dehydration makes it harder for our brains to concentrate and impairs our short term memory. Water plays a key role in electrical neuron transmission. Without water, it’s harder for our brains to learn and concentrate. Ensuring your child stays properly hydrated, helps to give them brain power for learning and developing new skills.
Healthy hydration also helps to keep kids regular by supporting healthy digestion. Dehydration can lead to constipation and other digestive issues. Water is necessary to help the digestive system break down food and absorb nutrients. Without enough water, the stomach can get too acidic - leading to tummy aches and discomfort.
The health of your family is always in the forefront of your mind. Our immune system depends on water to help the body flush out toxins. The lymphatic system needs water to create “lymph,” a fluid that helps the immune system catch and destroy harmful bacteria (antigens) in the body. Water and proper hydration can help keep children’s bodies healthy and strong.
When the body gets too hot, you sweat. Water helps your body regulate body temperature. Around two thirds of water your body is stored inside cells. This water helps protect the body from sudden temperature changes. Water has a high heat absorption rate and helps protect our bodies from sudden temperature changes. This is especially important during the hot summer months.
Maybe you’re lucky and have a child that loves to drink water. But if you are a parent who finds it difficult to get your child to drink water, then you are not alone. The plain taste of water can be a hard sell, especially when other sugary drinks like juice and soda are an option. So what do you do if your child won’t drink water? One of the best things you can do to help your family drink more water is to be a role model. The more water you drink, the more likely your child will also develop the same healthy habit. Pay attention to how you’re feeling throughout the day and every time you feel thirsty, tired or a little spaced out, try drinking some water. Each time you drink water, offer water to you child so you can both be happily hydrated together!
This may sounds obvious, but it’s worth remembering. The more you have water available at all times for kids to choose to drink, the more likely they will. Filling your home with filtered, great tasting water makes it easier and healthier to hydrate. You can get clean, refreshing water from every tap in your home with a salt-free whole house water system. This not only makes it easier to fill up a glass of water from any sink in your home, it also eliminates your need for bottled water and ensures your family always has access to high quality water. When you’re out and about, rather than bring multiple juice boxes or soda, give your child a refillable water bottle so they always have water available to them.
If your child loves drinking juice, try diluting it with water. Even all natural juices still contain a lot of fruit sugar. Increasing the ratio of water to juice concentrate lowers the amount sugar your child consumes. You can gradually add more and more water over time to slowly get a child used to drinking more water.
Silly straws, fun shaped ice cubes and giving your child their own special water bottle are some ways to make drinking water a little more fun. Depending on your child’s age, maybe pick out a fun refillable water bottle - with their favorites cartoon characters or animals. They will want to bring their water bottle around with them and will naturally be more inclined to drink more water!
Incorporate hydration into your reward systems! Making your own popsicles are a great way to give your child a yummy and hydrating treat. Homemade popsicles using fruit, sugar-free juice and filtered water, gives your child a treat. And you can feel good knowing there are no added chemicals, food dyes or refined sugars.