Has it been a battle to make your children drink water? Or have your children been struggling to drink water without added things? It may appear easy or obvious that water is the best way to hydrate the body yet many studies show otherwise.
What the stats are saying?
- A Harvard study found that half of kids didn’t meet their minimum hydration requirements
- Nearly 1 in 4 kids reported drinking no water at all (!!)
- Mild dehydration can cause cognitive impairment, headaches and nausea
- Experts: Schools need to provide kids access to clean drinking water at all times
According to the CNN and many health care practitioners would agree that: “There’s one simple liquid that has a huge effect on how well your family feels today: water.”
Habits Start at Home
Isn’t true that children often copy our behaviour? So if you show your enjoyment of water that will encourage them to drink it too. Also studies suggest that a dislike of a food or drink can be overcome by repeating tastings 5 to 10 times over a two week period. Of course, don’t pressure them to drink it. You wouldn’t go far. * I’m sure you agree with me that such habits start at home. As a parent you can start by setting a good example: drinking primarily plain water, this way you to create a “culture of hydration,” said Ward. “Children shouldn’t even have to ask for water,” and younger children in child care should have clean drinking water available to them at all times.
Why Water and Not a Fizzy Drink?
Water is crucial to a child’s (and adult) health. Water is not just a beverage choice, it’s an essential nutrient. And without adding calories or sugar to the diet. Dr Gary Lindner and myself have been educating people about the importance of good quality water via online presentations , 1 to 1 session and events. If this interests you, please reach out to me.
- hydrates your body,
- helps regulate body temperature,
- helps prevent constipation and urinary tract infections
How much water does a child require?
The amount of fluid a child needs depends on many factors including age, gender, weather and physical activity levels. It is advised that children should aim to drink approximately 6-8 glasses of fluid per day (on top of the water provided by food in their diet). The table below for the European Food Safety Authority’s recommendations for water intake for children under conditions of moderate environmental temperature and moderate physical activity levels.
|Sex||Age group||Amount of fluid from drinks and food (litres/day*)||Amount of fluid from drinks only (litres/day**)|
|Boys and girls||2 to 3 years||1.3||0.9 – 1.0|
|Boys and girls||4 to 8 years||1.6||1.1 – 1.3|
|Girls||9 to 13 years||1.9||1.3 – 1.5|
|Boys||9 to 13 years||2.1||1.5 – 1.7|
|Female||14-18 years||2.0||1.4 – 1.6|
|Male||14-18 years||2.5||1.8 – 2.0|
Source: EFSA (2010).
Adolescents of 14 years and older are considered as adults with respect to adequate water intake and the adult values apply.
*It is estimated that 70-80% of the recommended amount of fluid comes from drinks and 20-30% from food.
**Estimated amounts of fluid from beverages only.
The British Nutrition Foundation gives guidelines for the types of fluid to drink, and water is the only fluid which they recommend drinking “plenty” of.
But what if my child doesn’t like water?
Here are a few tips what could help your child drink more water.
1. Make it available
Children need to be offered a drink. They often think they are not thirsty but once they start drinking a few sips, they realize they’d more. And you can start by saying, let’s do 3 sips. You’ll be surprised how quickly this habit develops. I started to put my son’s sippy cup so that he could reach and help himself. And most of the times he does. Real life feedback from a childminder I know, she often sees full bottle of water in children’s bags when she picked them up from school. They are not encouraged or rather reminded by teachers to drink water after each class.
2. Limit their options
Stating early and have two or three options max is the key. In our home I offer water, milk or herbal tea for children. Some parents offer diluted juice 1:3. It’s a good idea to offer all three throughout the day to give a variety. Also let them finish one drink first (water) before giving another beverage.
3. A special cup/water bottle
Children may find a cup that is their favourite whether it’s with a princess, a shark or a ladybird picture, a sparkly goblet or a bottle with a straw or a bottle that just looks more “grown up”. It give them the independence and give them the ownership. What’s more, as I already mentioned, children do copy our adult behaviour. So I noticed that if I drink more regularly, my 14 month old does the same.
While 99% of the U.S and UK population have access to clean drinking water, some schools and houses built before the 1980s may have contaminated drinking water because of lead water pipes, says Dr Patel.
If you and your family are concerned about the quality of tap water or the cost and quality connected to bottled water, reach out to me to find out what I have found and have been personally using.
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To your vibrant life!
Skype: Lucie Patel Varekova
Email: [email protected]