It has been such a gorgeous summer so far this year, with long days of blue skies and sunshine. Not something that we are particularly used to in this country, but we definitely shouldn’t moan about it. We need to embrace it and that is exactly what we have been doing, getting out and about and making the most of it while we can.
One thing that we do need to be mindful of when the weather gets warmer is making sure that our children are all drinking enough. This can be tricky to monitor, especially when children are at school but it is so important for so many reasons. Children don’t often even realise that they are thirsty and I know that mine can go for hours without a drink if I wasn’t there to nag them. Even mild dehydration can cause tiredness, lethargy, reduced concentration levels, dry skin and lips and can generally affect performance.
How much should children be drinking every day?
So we know that hydration is more important with kids, but how much do they need to drink every day? According to the British Nutrition Foundation website, older children need 6 to 8 glasses (250 – 300ml) each day and younger children need the same but slightly smaller glasses (120-150ml). These figures are dependent on their age, the amount of physical activity they are doing and the weather, but they are a rough guide. The British Nutrition Foundation also has a handy guide with information about the best drinks to give children which you can print off here.
What should they be drinking?
We all know the answer to that question. Water. A lot of us will also know that it can be easier said than done as a lot of children just don’t like water.
If possible it is important to get them used to drinking water from as early an age as possible. That way, they don’t get into bad habits. I have become a lot more conscious about the amount of sugar in drinks and it is actually quite shocking to see how many grams of sugar there are in some drinks. So water is by far the best option and milk is a good option too. Failing that, sugar-free squashes or small amounts of fruit juice are okay in moderation. Flavoured water is something that a lot of parents choose but you do need to check how much sugar is contained in them as it might surprise you to see how much there is. Some flavoured waters contain more sugar than the average amount a child should have in one day which is really shocking.
Why not try fruit infused water? We have just discovered this and I put some in the fridge over night with different combinations of fruit and it is so refreshing. If, like me, you have a juice addict, water the juice down. Over time, we have added more and more water to our son’s juice and he now has 30% juice and 70% water and he hasn’t even realised that we add water to it.
How do you know if you are dehydrated?
There are lots of signs of dehydration that we might not notice but over on their website, rehydration brand Dioralyte have a test to see how hydrated you are along with some top tips of their own to keep you all well hydrated this summer.
What do we need to do to keep our kids hydrated?
I know that my children probably aren’t drinking enough in spite of my best attempts, so I am on a mission this summer to improve things and these are my top tips.
- Set a good example. Our children often copy us, so if we are always drinking water, it is bound to have a positive effect on them.
- Keep offering them drinks. Often they need reminding, so stop and have a drink yourself and remind them to keep drinking regularly.
- Get them into the habit of drinking regularly. Most kids drink or don’t drink because it is a habit. If they are in the habit of drinking regularly, they will do it automatically.
- Always leave a fresh drink nearby. If they are playing, reading, chilling, watching TV, leave a bottle or a glass of water nearby, they are more likely to drink it if they can see that it is there
- Keep drinks in the fridge. Especially during the warmer weather, keep some bottles of water in the fridge so that there is always nice refreshing drink always at hand
- Invest in some colourful bottles. Younger children will love a fun bottle or cup to drink out of and they are far more likely to drink if it is something that catches their attention. Straws can also be a fun addition.
- Add ice. My kids love ice and if I add ice cubes, it immediately gets their attention. Why not try adding some fun shaped ice cubes (Lego bricks are our favourite), there are lots of different moulds available and it is a fun way to liven up a glass of water
- Flavoured drinks are better than no drinks at all but remember to keep an eye on the sugar content
- Make your own ice lollies. There are so many great recipes to make your own and it is easy and cost-effective. Most kids will happily tuck in when it’s warm and you can control the level of sugar and other ingredients go in. This is a great and very tasty recipe to make ice lollies with home made lemonade and fresh raspberries.
- Keep feeding them fresh fruit. Fruit is a great snack as it contains natural juices which all help in the battle against dehydration
- Try and avoid any drinks that contain caffeine as it is an ingredient which causes dehydration
- Make sure that during the hot weather, kids stay in the shade as much as possible
- If children get stomach bugs, their bodies will lose a lot of water and it is a good idea to invest in a rehydration product like Dioralyte as they contain ingredients which help the body to rehydrate quickly
Those are my top tips, what do you do to encourage your kids to stay well hydrated?
Post written in association with Dioralyte