What To Drink Keeping Children Hydrated This SummerExcessive heat in Tulsa started early this season and has stayed with us. It is very important in hot weather like this that children stay hydrated. But when your child comes in hot and thirsty, what do you reach for? Juice box? Soda? Kool-Aid? If those sugary drinks are your go to, think again.
Say “Yes!” to Water!
Water is the drink your child really needs. It has zero calories and is essential to the functioning of your child’s entire body, including his brain! Plus it is far less expensive than sodas, juices and sport drinks and contains teeth-strengthening fluoride.
Limit Fruit Juice
You may be surprised that I lumped fruit juice in with Kool-Aid and soda. Isn’t 100% fruit juice a healthy drink for kids? Actually, no. The trend of giving children fruit juice throughout the day has contributed to childhood obesity and encourages your child to develop a sweet tooth. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends limiting the intake of juice to 4-6 oz. per day—about ½ cup. And don’t give kids anything labeled fruit “drinks” or “cocktails,” as these have little actual fruit juice and a lot of added sugar.
The fact is children don’t need to drink juice at all. If you want to give them liquid, stick with water or lowfat milk. If you want to give them fruit, give them real fruit.
Say “Never!” to Energy Drinks
Whatever you do, don’t give your children “energy drinks.” These drinks are full of sugar, caffeine and other questionable ingredients, that can lead to dehydration, irregular heartbeat, anxiety, insomnia, jitteriness and other problems.
How Much Water?
As a general rule, here’s how much water kids should drink each day:
- Toddlers: 2-4 cups
- 4-8 years: 5 cups
- 9-13 years: 7-8 cups
- 14 and up: 8-11 cups
If your child plays sports, they should drink before, during and after a practice or game.
Make Drinking Water Fun
Having a hard time convincing your child to give up juice or soda for water? Here are 10 ways to make water more appealing:
- Infuse with flavor by adding berries, cucumbers, lemons and limes.
- Freeze ice cube trays with berries and add this to your water to keep it extra cold.
- Provide your child with his or her own special water cup.
- Buy tiny water bottles (4-8 oz.) that are easy for kids to hold and drink.
- Let them serve themselves. Teach kids how to get water from the faucet or from a fridge water dispenser, or purchase an inexpensive beverage dispenser (Target has them for $15.95) and fill it with water, ice and fruit slices.
- Set up a reward system. Give your child a reward sticker for finishing his or her water.
- Be a role model. The more your children see you carrying out healthy habits, the more likely they are to imitate you.
- Carry a water bottle. Buy a fun water bottle for yourself and your child. Don’t leave home without them!
- Freeze some freezer-safe water bottles for ice cold water in the car when running errands.
- Choose water instead of other beverages when eating out. You will save money and calories!