Kids and hydration – Estes Park Trail-Gazette

Kids and hydration – Estes Park Trail-Gazette

It can often be a daily occurrence that is often overlooked unintentionally regarding our kids. I’m remembering a summer when my daughter had been complaining of headaches and seemed extremely lethargic for her busy self. I started paying better attention to what she was doing and realized that these episodes were occurring after a long day of summer camp. After discussing what her days were consisting of, I realized that she was hardly touching her water bottle throughout her fun-filled day, and it dawned on me that she was probably coming home dehydrated.

Dehydration, is a serious condition that effects everyone, including kids. They’re so busy having fun that they don’t even notice it or even care to stop and drink. So, it’s up to us to make sure to encourage them to do so!

Symptoms of dehydration include thirst, dry mouth, fatigue, headaches, increased body temperatures, rapid heart rate, and dizziness. Easy things to look for that alert us to dehydration are extremely yellow urine, super dry mouth and tongue, signs of heat exhaustion (sweating, red/warm skin) and signs of fatigue.

The rule of thumb has always been to drink 8-8 oz. glasses of water every day, but this can vary according to our body size and activity levels. Eight 8oz glasses of anything is hard enough for adults to accomplish, we sure can’t expect our kids to drink that much.

Research has shown that the average person will lose approximately one liter of water each day, which is 4-8 oz. glasses of water. Then depending on what activities are added to your day will determine how much more you should drink above that.

With kids it’s really hard to get them to drink enough. My suggestion would be to attempt to get your kids to drink at least 2 to 4-4 oz. glasses of water each day.  No matter how it’s accomplished. Truthfully, all drinks count towards hydration, but getting a few extra ounces of plain, clear water a bonus for their active bodies.

Ways that I was able to get my kids to drink more water include getting them their own water bottle and keeping it available. I only serve water with meals (no sodas, no juice). We never drank a lot of juice, but if they did get juice, they’d be required to drink some sips of water before, during and after enjoying that juice.

I am a parent that never mixes drinks (sports drinks) according to manufacturers suggestions. I always use a third mix to two-thirds water or even as watered down as half and half. Most of the time my kids never even noticed the difference.

Here are some more ideas. Don’t pass up a water fountain without topping off your water bottle or taking a quick sip and keep that water bottle near making sure to sip from it all day long.  Drink a glass of water with every meal and snack. Try to follow all other drinks with an equal amount of water, including coffee and alcohol. Drink extra water if you are sick. Squeeze a little lemon or lime in your water to make it tastier. Wake up to a full glass of water, drink it first thing.

There are many wonderful reasons to drink water besides the fact that your body desperately needs it to survive. Men who drink more than 8-8oz. glasses of water have a 49% lower incidence in bladder and colon cancers. Women who remain well hydrated have a lower incidence of breast cancer. As adults, dehydration will slow your metabolism, it triggers daytime fatigue, it can cause short-term memory loss, difficulty with problem solving and focusing.

Remember, that our kids learn what they are taught and from what they see their parents and grand parents do. Water should never be an option. It needs to be a staple in every kid’s diet. Start early with water in bottles and sippy cups. Then continue the drinking of water everyday of their lives. I know that if our kids were always properly hydrated, we’d see better attention in school, better behavior patterns, better memory and all-round healthier kids. Now go grab a drink of water.


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