As hot as the summer sun is, keeping kids hydrated has to be a parent's main priority just ahead of sunscreen. According to Parents magazine, children become dehydrated much more quickly than adults. They lose water through sweat and their bodies produce more heat. Plus, kids often don't think to stop and take a drink of water while they are playing. They'd rather run around and have fun! Here are 6 easy tips you (and they!) will appreciate:
1. Always Bring Water - Fill up reusable water bottles before you head out on a day trip or head out to the park to play. You may be able to buy water at the park or find a water fountain, but you never know. It's best to be prepared.
2. Avoid Going Outside During the Hottest Times of the Day - If you want to take your kids out to the park, try to do so in morning or in the early evening, after things have cooled down slightly. The risk of becoming dehydrated is greater in the mid-afternoon, when the sun is at its hottest.
3. Schedule Regular Water Breaks - According to Kids Health, the average child needs a drink of water every 20 minutes when she is exercising or playing a sport. Kids should drink about 5 to 9 ounces of water every time they take a break depending on their age and weight. Have your child take a drink even if she claims she is not thirsty.
4. Add Some Flavor - While some kids really don't have a problem with how water tastes, others prefer some kind of fruit flavor in theirs. You can add a slice of lemon or lime to the water for a hint of flavor. Another option is to dilute fruit juice with water so that your child gets a hint of flavor without as many calories. During sports and other strenuous activity, it's fine to give your child sports drinks to keep her hydrated.
5. Skip the Caffeine - Even though ice tea and sodas can technically keep the kids hydrated, they usually contain caffeine which can actually increase dehydration. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it causes the body to lose water. It also masks symptoms of dehydration.
6. Think of Fruit - Some fruits and vegetables have a high water content and help to keep your kids hydrated. If they're not interested in water, have them eat fruits such as cantaloupe, oranges or watermelon instead. Watermelon, for example, has a water content of over 90 percent.
Finding ways to make sure keeping kids hydrated this summer doesn't have to be challenging. Get your kids used to drinking water regularly and you may soon find that you do not need to remind them that it's time to take a drink.
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