Is Your Child Drinking Enough?

Keeping children properly hydrated during the hot summer months is very important for their overall health. Young children cannot tolerate temperature extremes as well as adults. They sweat less, produce more heat and acclimatize to heat more slowly. Active children lose two or more quarts of water daily so their bodies need to be continuously replenished.

A good way to tell if your child is drinking enough fluids is if they are urinating regularly. Darker than normal urine or infrequent urination may indicate they are not drinking an adequate amount. Symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, fatigue, headache, dizziness and difficulty breathing, particularly during periods of increased physical activity. It's best to offer fluids throughout the day to keep children hydrated and this way, beverages won't fill their tummies at mealtime before they've had a chance to eat their meal. Water is an easily available drink. Juice, fruit-flavoured juice drinks and soft drink mixes provide fluid and flavour. Below are some tips to help keep kids hydrated:

  • Encourage children to drink before, during and after activity. Dehydration actually begins before they feel thirsty.
  • Have your child take "hydro breaks" and drink at least 4 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes while playing outside or competing in sports. A helpful tip: one ounce equals approximately one "gulp." Depending on your child's particular sport or activity, you may need to drink whenever the opportunity arises (for example, during breaks or time-outs).
  • Provide children with their own handpicked water bottle and fill it daily. To keep beverages chilled, freeze half of the fluid in the bottle overnight and then add the rest of the fluid.
  • Serve Jell-O or frozen juice bars for an afternoon treat.
  • Juice pouches, such as Del-Monte, or juice boxes are popular and easily stowed in backpacks.
  • Powdered drink mixes or ready-to-drink bottles such as Tang and Kool-Aid are handy options to entice kids into drinking.
  • Watery fruits can help too! Watermelon, grapes and strawberries are sure to please. Try freezing the grapes for an extra special cool treat.
  • Colourful, zany, loopy straws are another sure-fire way to get most kids to drink. They love watching the liquid go through its loops and turns.

Good luck and drink up!

Learn more about the functions of water.