creative ways to keep your kids hydrated
As parents, we need to pay close attention to make sure our kids are drinking and eating enough hydrating fluids and foods to prevent dehydration, especially this time of year.
Why is staying hydrated so important for kids?
Kids don’t often recognize thirst, especially when they’re busy having fun and playing outside, which makes them particularly vulnerable to dehydration. Proper fluid intake is essential for kids, not only to stay hydrated, but also to:
- Help with digestion
- Move nutrients and waste through their bodies
- Maintain healthy blood volume
- Help lubricate joints and body tissues (such as the mouth, eyes and nose)
- Protect and cushion their joints and organs
- Control their body temperature
How much fluid do kids need everyday?
Toddlers, and kids should be getting anywhere from 3.5-7 cups of fluid per day depending on age, gender and activity level, and even more if it’s hot outside! This is just a baseline:
- 1-3 year-olds: 3.5 cups per day
- 4-8 year-olds: 5 cups per day
- 9-13 year-old girls: 6.5 cups per day
- 9-13 year-old boys: 7 cups per day
Remember, this doesn’t account for extra activity or hot or humid weather conditions. It’s important to keep tabs on thirst, urine output and mood to ensure that your child is meeting his or her fluid needs. If your child is thirsty, and/or has dark, concentrated and strong smelling urine (yes, it’s important to check!), it’s likely that he isn’t meeting their requirements and need to drink more. Your child might be on their way to becoming dehydrated if they are experiencing:
- Dry or cracked lips/mouth
- Flushed skin
- Dizziness and fainting
- Decreased urine output
- Dark, concentrated and strong smelling urine
- Low blood pressure and increased heart rate
- Mood changes (tired, irritable, drowsy)
Here are my top three tips for keeping your kids hydrated year round:
1) Water, water, water!
Make sure that your kids have their own designated water bottle (labelled to prevent sharing) that is always filled with water. Check in with your kids about the temperature that they prefer their water—some kids love cold water and others prefer room temperature. Set timers every half hour or so to remind your kids to take a water break. Remember, they don’t always recognize that they’re thirsty, especially if they’re having fun playing outside. You can add a squeeze of lemon or lime or some berries to add some natural flavour. Kids love ice cubes too. Once in a while, I’ll freeze unsweetened fruit juice in fun-shaped ice cube trays and put a couple in my kids water to make it a bit tastier.
2) Keep alternate kid-friendly, nutritious, hydrating fluids on hand
Although water is the gold standard for hydration, there are a few other nutritious options that can help to keep your kids hydrated (and nourished) too, such as milk and homemade smoothies. We often use leftover smoothie for homemade popsicles too (what kid doesn’t love popsicles). My kids love these because they feel like a treat but they are nutritious and hydrating, so mom is happy. We have a few favourite smoothie recipes, but this one is our go-to right now:
Tropical Green Avocado Smoothie
- 1 Orangobango Squoosh pouch
- 1/2 ripe banana
- 1/4 avocado
- 1/3 cup spinach
- 1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt
- 5-6 ice cubes
- 3/4 cup milk of choice
- 2 tsp hemp hearts
1. Blend until smooth!
3) Fruits and veggies galore
Fruits and veggies are not only naturally nutrient-packed (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals and fibre), but also very hydrating. In fact, most fruits and veggies contain between 80% - 90% water. Make sure to offer at least two types of fruits and/or veggies with every meal and at least one with every snack.
The most hydrating fruits and veggies include:
Making a fruit and veggie smoothie is a great way to add more produce to your child’s diet and a fun thing to make together. Another great hydrating option that is packed with fruits and veggies are Baby Gourmet’s Squoosh snack pouches. They come in four delicious flavours, they are non-perishable (until opened), and they are fun to eat! They are easy, portable and mess-free. We sometimes freeze our pouches and the kids love squeezing them out like a freezie. You can add them to smoothies too, just as we did in the recipe above.