The Parent-Teacher-Child Connection: Keep your kids hydrated during the summer

Monday, May 7, 2012

Keep your kids hydrated during the summer

"You're getting warmer!"  That's what an old video game said to my 30-something daughters when they were younger as they played a spelling game.  Video games are light-years away from what they were in the 1980s, but children still need to stay hydrated when they play outside.  The ten tips below come from my friends at

Summertime for most kids is the best time of the year. With all the outdoor activities that kids participate in this time of year and the heat of summer, it’s critical that they stay hydrated. Proportionately, kids have more body fluids than adults and they can get dehydrated faster. Fluids lost in sweat need to be replaced right away in order to stay healthy. By the time they say they are thirsty, dehydration has already begun. Sometimes it can be challenging to keep busy children drinking enough fluids but some of these suggestions may help.
  1. Use lightly flavored waters – There are a variety of flavored waters on the market now and there are sure to be some that will appeal to your kids. Avoid those that are heavy in sugar. Sugar slows the body’s absorption of fluids. Also be aware that you don’t want to overload their systems with artificial sweeteners. One or two drinks per day with a sweetener is fine, but consider other options after that.
  2. Offer sugar free ice pops – Most kids like ice pops and they can easily be made by using ice pop trays or simply pour a beverage in a small paper cup, add a popsicle stick or plastic spoon and freeze. Kids will always come back for more.
  3. Gatorade – This is still one of the best drinks for keeping people hydrated, and kids participating in sports are no exception. If your kid is involved with any summer sports, make sure you have an ample supply on hand and available during practice.
  4. Have fruit handy – Fruit juice has lots of sugar and the more carbohydrates, the slower the absorption of the fluid. Whole fruits on the other hand are mostly water and help with nutrition and fiber as well as aid in hydration. Watermelon, grapes, oranges and apples as well as vegetables like cucumbers and tomatoes are excellent sources of water.
  5. Milk and yogurt are good sources of fluid – Kids may enjoy having a long cool drink of milk or one of the flavored yogurt drinks. Also making smoothies out of milk or yogurt adds more nutrition and fiber to the drink in addition to fluids.
  6. Offer the kids a drink of water 6-8 times a day – Even if they are not thirsty, offering a drink of water or flavored water will aid greatly in keeping your kids healthy and hydrated. Try to get 6-8 glasses of water in your kids every day.
  7. Nix peak sun outdoor play – The sun is hottest during afternoon to early evening so try to keep outdoor activities to before noon or after 5 or 6 pm.
  8. Say “no” to caffeinated drinks – Caffeine acts as a diuretic and as such is counter productive to keeping kids hydrated. Since they need more liquid than adults to stay hydrated and they lose fluids faster than adults, it’s crucial to see that the fluids they do take in will aid in keeping them hydrated.
  9. Limit juice intake – Juice at breakfast and as a snack is fine, but don’t use it as a way to keep your kids hydrated throughout the day. Juice does provide nutrition and tastes good, however the sugar in it slows absorption, and it can add unnecessary weight gain if used consistently all day long. As an alternative, you can dilute the juice with water or better still, use a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange to add flavor to plain water.
  10. Keep cool water readily available – Water is still the drink of choice when it comes to hydration. Make sure kids take a water break during outdoor play time every 15 -20 minutes especially on hot days and when involved with sports.
You can easily avoid heat related problems with your children by making sure they drink enough fluids, stay out of the sun and heat during peak times of the day and by monitoring them as they play. Keep summer a happy time for your kids by keeping them healthy.

Happy parenting!

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