The summer may not exactly have turned out to be a classic scorcher, but it’s still pretty warm out there and it’s easy for busy kids (and adults!) to become dehydrated. It might seem to be a fairly simple business to stay hydrated: after all, it just involves drinking something every few hours or so, right?
Well, there is a little bit more to optimum hydration than that…after all, our bodies are about 60% water and it’s crucial to all kinds of functions. Good hydration keeps us feeling happy and alert, prevents muscle cramps, and even helps us to get a better night’s shut eye.
Even when you know all of this, in reality keeping up the fluid intake of kids who are far more interested in playing and running around can be a challenge. Here are a few top tips!
Keep track of your water intake
Just waiting until you feel thirsty to drink is not a good strategy, as this is a sign that you are already dehydrated. Besides this, very young children may not always be able to verbalise or recognise thirst, or can simply be too engaged with what they are doing to notice.
Therefore, a good tactic is to create a chart, either on paper or a digital app, to keep track of the whole family’s water intake. Make it into a game and your kids will probably soon be keen to keep up with each other. Record the time and the amount of water that you drink, and check in to see if you are getting enough at the end of each day.
If you are out and about, take plenty of water bottles with you. Leave them in the freezer for an hour or two beforehand if the weather is really warm. If your kids are reluctant to drink plain water, add a few drops of fruit juice to liven things up.
Adjust your intake for the conditions
The NHS advises that we should drink six to eight glasses of fluid every day. This may vary according to the weather conditions or the activities that you are doing. When we exercise, especially in hot weather, we lose fluids more quickly through sweat. Not only do we lose water, but also essential vitamins and minerals in our sweat.
That’s why it’s really beneficial to add electrolyte tablets to your water. Not only do they help the body to rehydrate more quickly, but they are also packed with electrolytes, which are substances including sodium, potassium, and magnesium. These help to regulate the chemical balance in your body so that it can function properly.
Avoid too many fizzy or caffeinated drinks
It can be tempting to give in to demands from kids for sweet fizzy drinks. However, these are not ideal because sugar makes it harder for the body to absorb fluid. They also contribute to weight gain and tooth decay. Caffeine makes us need the toilet more frequently, so it’s best avoided as your main source of fluid intake.