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Part of good nutrition is also keeping your kids hydrated well. When the temperatures creep up parents often get ultra focused on how much liquid their kids are drinking, and for good reason! Dehydration can be a serious health issue, but even before it gets serious it can impact your child’s ability to use the nutrients found in the foods you serve. Water is an important ingredient in proper metabolism and numerous bodily functions.
The amount of water a child (or adult) needs to keep hydrated varies based on their body composition, the amount of exercise or exertion, the foods they’ve eating, their medical conditions, any medications they’re on and more. There’s no need to obsess over every milliliter or ounce unless your child’s healthcare provider has recommended close tracking. A quick and easy way to decide if your child is well hydrated is to check the color of their urine. If it’s the color of apple juice they likely need a bit more to drink. If it’s the color of lemonade or lighter, they’re likely right on track. Just like the color of your urine, it will change throughout the day and from one day to the next so keep an eye on it periodically to make sure you’re offering enough.
Do you know how much water they drink per day? Do they have a go to cup they use or maybe they share with you and sip throughout the day. If you’ve found that your kiddo needs a little more water by the apple juice test above, I would strongly encourage you to help them drink from their own cups for a bit so you can better track how much they’ve had or how it compares to normal days. Once you have them sticking to their own cup, find out how many ounces it holds and consider how often it gets filled throughout the day.
If your kid isn’t known for chugging down water, you may feel lost as to how to help them increase their intake. You likely offer them water often and have it filled and ready to go, but that’s not helping. I like to pick periods of the day that are natural transitions and incorporate a sip or two of water into them. For toddlers that could be before they start a new activity, before leaving the car for swim lessons or a zoo trip. For older kids when they switch classrooms, or after finishing chores. Find those natural transitions, and encourage all family members to take a sip of water at the same time. These small sips will help gradually increase your intake without intense pressure.
If you’re struggling to help your kid keep hydrated, book a free call with Courtney and see how you can work together to meet their hydration needs.