Did you know that your body is two-thirds water? Water is a really important component of our bodies.
We lose water all the time in our sweat, breath and when we urinate (pee). We lose water even faster during exercise, and it’s fairly common for children to get a bit dehydrated – especially when they are playing hard and having fun in warm weather.
Of course we replace water all the time when we drink. It’s important that children stay hydrated, and it’s also important that we give our kids healthy drinking habits!
Water, Water, Everywhere…
The best drink for you and your children is water, and it is important that we encourage our kids to get in the habit of drinking water.
Pure fruit juice isn’t a bad option, but it does have some disadvantages. Fruit juice is acid, which means it is not kind to your child’s teeth. Fruit juice is also quite sweet, which can cause your child to develop a sweet-tooth. Limit fruit juice and always dilute it with water.
Milk is a good option, but avoid flavoured or sweetened milk.
Fruit smoothies are a great way to kill two birds with one stone: they help kids to stay hydrated and provide essential fruit at the same time. The natural fruit sugars can be damaging to teeth, so make sure your child brushes regularly.
Sports Drinks, Fizzy Drinks, Sodas, Diet Sodas & Energy Drinks!
Selling soft drinks to our kids is a massive industry: In 2010, the sale of fizzy drinks in the UK was worth more than £7 billion. It’s no wonder that our kids are bombarded with adverts for these products.
These days, many children don’t drink water – drinking gallons of sweetened soft drinks instead! Advertisers would have us believe that sports drinks and fizzy drinks are necessary to keep our children happy and hydrated, but this is just not true.
- Fizzy drinks/Soda: full of sugar and other additives – should be avoided
- Sports drinks: full of unnecessary sugar – over-hyped and should be avoided
- Energy drinks: full of sugar and high in caffeine – should be avoided
- Diet drinks: help your child to develop a sweet tooth, have been linked to obesity and should be avoided
Remember that you are the boss – if you don’t buy them, the kids can’t drink them.
Children are more susceptible to dehydration than adults. Mild dehydration can cause tiredness, constipation, dry mouth and thirst. Dehydration can even affect your child’s’ short-term memory and their ability to do simple maths. Mild dehydration can be easily remedied by drinking water.
One of the best ways to make sure your kids stay hydrated is to teach them to check their own pee. Just encourage your child to take a look next time they go to the toilet!
If their pee is dark coloured, they need to drink more fluids. Pee should ideally be very pale yellow, it should not be very smelly, and you should make quite a bit of it. If your child can go for hours without peeing, and their pee is dark yellow/gold and smelly, they need to drink more water.
The Parents for Health Pee Checklist:
- Lots of wee
- Light colour
- Little smell
Top Hydration Tips
- Make sure your children have access to good quality water – leave a jug or bottle of water on the table during meals and encourage the kids to drink whenever they feel like it
- You don’t have to buy bottled water – tap water hydrates just as well and is much cheaper
- If your tap water doesn’t taste nice, try using a filter
- Water tastes better when it is chilled, so you could fill bottles or jugs and leave them in the fridge
- If you’re out and about, bring bottled water (filled from the tap!) – invest in a cool box for picnics
- Don’t buy fizzy drinks, sports drinks or energy drinks for your kids
- Encourage your children to drink little and often
- Encourage your kids to check themselves: If their pee is dark or smelly, they should drink more water!
Do you have trouble getting your child to drink plain water? Leave a comment and let us know!