We are always reminded that adults should drink about 64 ounces of water per day, but there really aren’t any official guidelines for children, and while they get hydration via milk, fruit juice, etc., it is very important that their little bodies get enough pure water as well. Results from a 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that all children except those aged 2-3 are not drinking enough water, with boys having the least amount of intake. One of the main issues is that children consume the majority of beverages at meal times, and often, they are not drinking water with meals.
Water performs a variety of functions in our body including controlling body temperature, aiding digestion, preventing constipation, circulating blood and transporting nutrients and oxygen to cells. The only guideline that we could find is 1 quart of water for every for every 1,000 calories expended, but there really is no need to get that technical. As long as you offer water at and inbetween meals, a child’s thirst should be the best guide.
Here are some tips to get your kids more excited about drinking water:
- Use fun/colorful glasses and let kids pick from a collection of those loopy straws
- Let your kids pick a water bottle that they can carry with them (BPA free, of course)
- During the summer months, be extra careful and offer your kids water every 30 min or so, and if they are playing a sport, during every break.
- Serve them half a glass of water at meals before you will offer juice or their preferred beverage, explain the benefits
- When possible, offer filtered tap water as the fluoride will benefit them as well
One more small step to healthier 2012!