Sometimes water doesn’t cut the mustard when it comes to meeting a child’s hydration needs. Have you ever been told to avoid giving sports drinks to your kids?
While hydration is important year round, in the summer, we have to work a bit harder to keep our kids safely hydrated while they play out the heat. A recent study looked at kids attending a summer camp and found that 50-75% of the children were running around dehydrated, and 25-30% of them showed serious signs of dehydration.
Research shows that when kids are given water to drink, they don’t replace their fluid losses as well as when they are offered drinks with flavor. With a 1/2 eaten watermelon lying around (that was 2 days from the trash), I got the idea to blend it and repurpose it as a post camp drink for my boys. The fruit acts as source of flavor plus nutrient-dense carbs, the addition of the club soda lowers the sugar content and ups the fizz, and the salt helps kids (and adults) replaces sodium losses and increase the desire for them to drink more.
Start off with good Hydration Education
The first step is to helping kids stay hydrated is to educate them! Teach your child how much fluid they need a day, and how to know if they’re adequately hydrated.
A child’s fluid needs will depend on factors like their age, activity level, and the weather. In general, children:
- Ages 1-3 = 4 cups of fluids per day
- Ages 4-8 = 5 cups of fluids per day
- Girls ages 9-18 = 7-8 cups per day
- Boys ages 9-18 = 8-11 cups per day.
The more active a child, the more fluids they will require. Teach your child to know the signs of good hydration, they should be going to the bathroom often and their urine should look like pale lemonade, not apple juice. For most active kids, the ideal fluids for optimal hydration is water.
Flavor those fluids
As mentioned earlier, it’s important to make fluids readily available and appealing, and kids will drink 50% more fluids when flavored! Low sugar ways to add flavor to water is to make 100% fruit juice ice cubes, use low calorie mix-ins (Like G2), or add as plash of 100% juice. Serve it cold as cold drinks are more appealing & empty the stomach faster
Active Kids Need Even More!
For active kids taking part in sports or practices lasting 60 minutes or longer, sports drinks that contain carbs and sodium will help them hydrate more effectively. Remind them to consume fluids regular intervals because most kids won’t stop to drink when they’re having fun! Set up a drinking schedule where they drink 10 big gulps of fluid every 20 minutes. This not only protects their health but performance as well! Fruits, vegetables and yogurt contain 80-90% fluids and can also be nutritious way to help kids met their hydration needs.
No one wants an unhappy summer camper, so let’s find appealing ways to healthfully keep kids hydrated with drinks they look forward to downing!Print