How to keep active kids hydrated.
May 17, 2019
While just how much water your child needs depends on their age and activity level, teaching kids to drink before they are thirsty is the best place to start. Even if they don’t love plain old water, here are a few ways to ensure your child stays hydrated in the heat, and gets the fluids they need to stay cool.
TIP #1: GET THE FLUIDS GOING EARLY – AND ON A SCHEDULE
From a young age, it’s important to teach your children to sip often and regularly, so that they aren’t only drinking when the thirst kicks in. Especially for active children, drinking water leading up to, during and after any exercise will help them cool down quickly; this is key because kids don’t sweat to recover the way adults do. We all know monkey-see, monkey-do, so take the lead and drink water often – you’ll lead by example and know your child will follow suit. Whether you use stickers to reward them for when they take a drink, or include them in filling up cute water bottles, encourage them to drink regularly to avoid the dizziness and headaches that come with dehydration.
TIP #2: SHY AWAY FROM SUGARY, CAFFEINATED DRINKS
The bottles may be fancy and attractive to your little one, but they don’t actually do the trick the same way water will. Drinks like cola will actually work the opposite way, as diuretic substances dehydrate the body. Sugary drinks like Gatorade, sodas or highly-sweetened fruit juices may seem refreshing, but instead of being hydrating, they’ll provide more of a sugar crash than anything.
TIP #3: TAKE WATER TO THE NEXT LEVEL
If it’s hard to say no to fancy labels and caffeinated beverages, get your child more excited about water by flavouring it at home or putting it in their favourite cup. The key to making this work is involving your child in the process. Whether it’s letting them pick out their favourite Disney character reusable water bottle, or letting them pick the fruits that go in the ice cube tray or homemade popsicles, this will get them excited about their water and the flavours they’ve helped you create. Try freezing berries or pineapple, adding a splash of lemon or floating cucumber in their water bottles – it’ll get them excited and kick up the water in a healthy way.
TIP #4: MAKE IT ACCESSIBLE
While you’re encouraging your child to drink, drink, drink, they also have to be able to access the water (or have someone readily available to help them get at it when they need it). This could mean showing your child how to use the water cooler, pointing out where the water fountains are, keeping a step near the sink, or, instead of using a four-litre water jug, you might have to keep multiple child-friendly reusable water bottles on the lower shelf in the fridge. Showing them where the drinks are and how to get at them teaches them a bit of independence and goes a long way in keeping them hydrated.
TIP #5: PACK HEALTHY, HYDRATING SNACKS
Just as important as staying hydrated, is having healthy snacks as a midday pick-me-up – so why not combine the two? Packing fruits and vegetables with a high water content will help them restore energy levels, eat a well-rounded diet and stay hydrated all day long. Snacks like watermelon, cucumber, berries, apples, oranges, carrots and celery make for great thirst-quenching treats to fill the void between meals.