Summer = Dehydration
Summer is hot and kids are active. The combination spells fun for your children but puts them at greater risk for dehydration. Kids are busy and they often don’t stop to drink until they are either overheated or dehydrated. They need to be reminded to drink and eventually taught the warning signs.
Dehydration can cause headaches, nausea, heat exhaustion, dizziness, and even fainting. It zaps energy and can make your child feel terrible. The good news is it is completely preventable.
Dehydration can begin before the sun even comes up. When we sleep, we lose fluids without replacing them for eight or more hours. When you and your child wake up in the morning, replenish those lost fluids with a full glass of water to get your day started on the right track.
Want some more tips? Keep reading.
7 Tricks to Keep Kids Hydrated
If you offer a child room temperature water, you’re likely to get a “no thanks.” It’s amazing what can happen when you offer children something they actually want to drink. It doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have to be a soda or sugary drink, however. Most children will drink water if it’s flavored and who says water has to come in the form of a liquid? Kids can get fluids from lots of places.
The key is to help them make hydrating part of their everyday life. They don’t have to guzzle an entire bottle of water, either. Even sips throughout their day and during activities will go a long way in keeping them properly hydrated. Be sure to encourage frequent drink breaks during vigorous activities, including swimming and water sports. Many people erroneously believe they don’t need much water when they are in a body of water because they can’t detect sweating. They may be burning through calories and fluids faster than they think so be sure they stop every 30 minutes to drink.
How do you ensure your kids stay hydrated in the hot summer months? Follow these 7 tips and find one or more that work for your child.
1. Make It Interesting
Water is boring. We admit it. While it’s the best fluid because it adds zero calories, salt, sugars, artificial ingredients and colors, or caffeine, it isn’t exactly something most kids crave. The good news is, water is extremely versatile. You can completely change the look and taste of water by adding splashes of juices, citrus slices, berries, cucumbers, and herbs like mint.
Other options to make water a bit more exciting is to use frozen fruits instead of ice, add shaved ice and/or add fun straws. The point is to make water something they actually like to drink. While sodas might be their favorite beverage of choice, helping them make healthier choices when they are young may establish the habits they can fall back on as teens and adults.
2. Popsicles and Smoothies
Popsicles and smoothies are mostly fluids. While they add more calories than plain water, they are a good option when the temperature rises and kids get a sweet tooth. If you choose the right popsicles (or make your own), you’re basically giving them fruit juice. Smoothies are pure fruit (and veggies if you can sneak them in!) and even better than fruit juices. Why? Because smoothies contain the whole fruit - fiber and all.
If the last time you made popsicles was when you were a child, you’re in for a surprise. Zoku has revolutionized popsicle making! You can puree your own ingredients and pour them into the pre-frozen mold and in only a few minutes, you have popsicles! You and your kids can get super creative or use their own recipe book. No more waiting all day or overnight!
If you choose to purchase popsicles, be sure to read the ingredients label. Many are loaded with sugars or worse, artificial sweeteners. They also frequently contain fake colors, flavors, and chemicals that don’t belong in food or a body.
If smoothies are more your child’s thing, making your own is super easy. Just use water as a base and add your child’s favorite fruits. If you have time to freeze fresh fruits, use those. If not, you can either purchase frozen fruits (more expensive than freezing fresh fruits) or use fresh fruit and add ice to the blender. You may also be able to sneak in veggies, such as kale, spinach and beets; and protein in the form of nut butters. If the smoothie isn’t sweet enough to entice your child, try adding a little honey and gradually decrease the amount over time until they no longer crave the sweeter smoothies.
If you purchase smoothies, most smoothie shops will either post or tell you the nutrition content. Be sure to choose one that isn’t 100 grams of sugar. As a rule of thumb, one teaspoon of sugar is equal to 4 grams of sugar. Even though the sugar comes from fruits, no one needs to down 25 teaspoons of sugar in a snack.
3. Fruits and Veggies
While drinking fluids is the fastest and easiest way to stay hydrated, many foods contain lots of water. If you can get your children to eat lots of fruits and veggies, they’re not going to need to drink as many fluids.
Cucumbers, melons, apples, peaches, citrus fruits, broccoli, spinach, celery, berries, pineapple and even yogurt contain water. Try adding a variety of these foods to every meal and as go-to items for snacks. Even if your child wants Goldfish, try including slices of apples or cucumbers, for instance.
4. Games & Challenges
What child doesn’t want to play a game? In the hot summer months when kids are hopefully outdoors a bit more, it’s a perfect time to make hydration fun. Set up games and relays where drinking small amounts of water (as in a Dixie cup) is part of the challenge. For instance, a childhood memory of mine is eating a mouthful of crackers and then trying to whistle a song. It would have been nice to have been given a cup of water to wash it all down after the game was over!
Try filling a dozen small cups of water and placing them on a table. Have the kids run, swim, or complete any activity, then run to the table and drink one cup of water before progressing to the next activity. Between each event, they can run back to the table and drink a small cup of water.
If this sounds like too much effort, you can also simply set up a reward system for every cup of water they drink. Make it attainable with rewards they’ll strive for and getting your kids to drink may be easier than you think!
5. Personalize Their Water Bottle
There are so many water bottles out there, many of which are made for kids. Let them choose their own water bottle or even decorate it with stickers, paint pens, or other crafts. Many monogram shops will add their initials to the water bottles as well.
When the child has their own “special” drinking cup or water bottle, they are more likely to want to drink. If your child doesn’t use a water bottle, you can still allow them to choose their own cups or personalize them. Consider allowing them to change it up every few months or seasons to keep it truly special.
6. Don’t Leave Home without It
It’s easy to forget to drink when you’re running around all day without much access to water. Pack water bottles in a small cooler to keep in your car. You can freeze a few small water bottles to act as ice to keep the other water bottles cool throughout the day. Take them to every activity or simply pull them out of the cooler when stuck in traffic. Challenge your child to finish the water before you get to your destination.
Include a water bottle in your child’s bag or backpack wherever they carry it. They will get into the habit of carrying water with them everywhere they go and will never go thirsty again!
7. Be A Role Model
The best way to get your children to drink water is to model the behavior for them. If they rarely see you drinking water all day, they are less likely to think of it themselves. Explain to them the importance of staying hydrated and how it helps them feel better and perform better.
Related: Who Needs A Smart Water Bottle?
Carrying a smart water bottle will allow you to know just how much water you need throughout the day, customized to your own body, activity level, and climate. You can also get reminders during your day so you never go too long without drinking. They come in the form of push notifications via an app on your mobile phone. These notifications not only serve as a reminder for you to drink but can be used as a reminder for you to get your kids to have a drink, too.
Tags: dehydration, heat, hydration, prevention, smart water bottle, summer, water