More than half of children and teenagers in the United States might not be properly hydrated, according to a nationwide How to keep kids hydratedstudy from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. In fact, 54.5% of the students in the study had urine concentrations that qualified them as below their minimum daily water intake.
In a much warmer, drier climate like we in South Africa, it’s very important that we keep them hydrated. According to Dr. Anisha Patel, a paediatrician at the University of California, San Francisco, while mild dehydration typically isn’t life threatening, not drinking enough water could result in cognitive impairment, headaches and even nausea in severe cases,
For younger children, symptoms include fussiness, infrequent urination, dry mouth and a lack of tears when the child is crying. “Keeping kids hydrated can help them with learning and to perform better in school,” said Patel.
How much water should children drink
Children 1 to 3 years old need roughly four cups of drinking water daily. For children 4 to 8, five cups is recommended a day. Once they reach 9, the requirements differ by sex. For boys 9 to 13, eight cups of water is recommended daily, while girls need about seven cups. Here are some tips to encourage children to drink more water:
Make water accessible
Make sure that your child has a water bottle and access to water as and when needed. Smaller children don’t have a very well developed thirst mechanism so you might need to remind them to drink water regularly.
Set a good example
Encourage a culture of drinking water regularly and lead by example.
Make it fun
Let your child choose a drinking cup or bottle that they like and want to drink from.
Add natural flavours
Add some fruit to change the flavour of the water for a little variety.
Improve the taste with a water filter
Visit your local store to get an affordable water filter – you will be amazed by how much better filtered water tastes and smells.