Spring is finally coming! Warmer temperatures mean more game days, play dates, and fun opportunities for kids to be active outdoors! As temperatures and activity increase, it is more important than ever to help your children stay hydrated.
Why is hydration important?
Water is by far one of the body’s most essential nutrients. The human body consists of between 50% – 75% water depending on factors such as age, gender, and body fat percentage. Water supports healthy digestion, helps circulate our blood, and transports nutrients throughout our body. Proper hydration helps with exercise, focus, and energy levels. For athletes and, in particular, young athletes, water is essential to high performance. It helps bring the proper amount of blood to muscles when they are in use, preventing extra strain and cramps. Water will also help your child’s muscles get the proper nutrients for recovering. Water is also sugar-free, caffeine-free, and calorie-free, making it a great asset for maintaining a healthy weight!
How much water does a child need?
The ideal daily water intake for your child will depend on a variety of factors, including age, weight, overall health, gender, activity level, and environmental factors such as air temperature and humidity. Typically, children and teens should drink at least 6-8 cups (8 fluid ounces) of water every day in addition to eating the daily recommended intake of fruits and vegetables, which contain a higher amount of water than other foods. Active kids should be hydrating frequently before, during, and after exercise. Make sure they drink one-half to 2 cups of water every 20 minutes while biking, hiking, or running around outside.
Recognize the signs of dehydration:
Dehydration is when you or your child’s body does not have enough water to continue working right. It can keep your child from being as fast and sharp as they usually are by causing headaches, tiredness, lack of concentration, and reduced mental performance, and it can even cause your child to be sick if they have severe dehydration. Common early warning symptoms include thirst, headache, dizziness, dry mouth, constipation, and sleepiness.
How can I encourage my child to stay hydrated?
- Diversify your hydration sources by feeding your child water-rich fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, watermelons, pineapple, cucumbers, and greens like lettuce and spinach. In need of some inspiration? Try this hydrating veggie salad or this hydrating fruit salad!
- Infuse water with fresh fruits and vegetables to add flavor and increase interest.
- Get an ice cube mold in fun shapes and freeze ice cubes with fresh fruit or diluted fruit juice to add color and flavor.
- Let your child choose their own water bottle that is fun for them to use.
- Be a good role model! Your kids want to be just like you, so if you drink, they may want to as well. Make it obvious that you love drinking water, and perhaps they’ll model your behavior.
Enjoy an active, healthy, and well-hydrated spring!