Oftentimes, children have a hard time articulating what emotions they’re feeling. Whether it be sadness, happiness, hunger, or thirst. So it’s not surprising that many times, their basic needs go without being met, and we as parents or caregivers, don’t realize anything is amiss.
With summer just around the corner, thirst and hydration are at the forefront of everyone’s minds — especially for the sake of our little ones.
Here are some facts about hydration that you may not know that’ll enable you to take action, and make sure your child is drinking as much water as they need.
What Is Hydration?
Hydration is when the body has enough water to function well. Younger kids are encouraged to drink around 5-8 glasses a day, depending on their age, weight, and level of daily physical activity. Drinking water is important for the body and mind to function at its best.
Here are four hydration facts to remember:
Drinking too much water very rarely happens
If you’re scared of your child feeling too full from water, don’t worry. More often than not, dehydration, or the lack of water in someone’s body, is much more common than Hyponatremia. Hyponatremia is a condition when you drink too much water that your sodium levels take a drop. So when in doubt, let ‘em keep drinking!
Thirst can be a sign of dehydration
Most signs of dehydration can easily be overlooked. Thirst is one tell-tale sign to know if your child is getting enough water or not. Make sure your child doesn’t have to ask for a glass of water. Get him into the habit of drinking before and after meals and even after waking up.
Water in its simplest form is the perfect way to hydrate the body
Water can be found in all liquids, from soft drinks to soups, to even the solid food that we eat. But if you want your child to stay hydrated in the most efficient way, choosing water above all its other alternatives is the way to go.
Hunger pangs can sometimes be a sign of thirst
Dehydration is difficult to detect and kids and adults alike often mistake the feeling of thirst with feeling hungry. If your child asks for snacks or says that they’re feeling hungry, offer a glass of water first, and then ask your little one after around 10 minutes if they still want a snack. More often than not, they’ll turn down the munchies because they already feel full and refreshed from their water.
Drinking more water when your child is sick is important
When your child is sick, especially if he’s vomiting or suffering from Diarrhea, he’s losing fluids at a quicker pace because he either can’t keep it down, or he doesn’t have the strength to make the effort to drink. Giving your sick child a few sips of water when she can help in her recovery faster, since it may help flush out the toxins from your little one’s body, and help control the body’s temperature. Encourage him to keep on drinking, even if he doesn’t feel like it.
Keeping your children hydrated at all times is as simple as making it accessible for them. Try to get them in the habit of carrying a water bottle with them at all times, and having them take sips throughout the day.
Also, remember to encourage them to drink extra water when they’ve spent time outdoors, or when they’ve been engaging in physical activity. This could save your little one from a nasty bout of heatstroke this summer!
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Don Patrick is an amateur writer and sports enthusiast. He loves reading books, listening to the Huberman Lab Podcast, and spending time with his family and friends. Don is also a personal trainer and youth hockey coach.