Guest contributor and American SPCC supporter, Karoline Gore explores why hydration matters in young children. For more useful advice for parents and caregivers, please visit our LEARNING CENTER.
Why Proper Hydration Matters for Young Kids
Up to 75% of a child’s body is made up of water, according to the Nestle Water website. Hydration is vital in maintaining healthy body weight in children. Young kids are more vulnerable to dehydration, especially during the summer or when participating in sports. This is because they sweat more than adults and lose much of the water in their bodies. Some of them might also ignore early signs of thirst and continue to play throughout until they are exhausted. As a parent, you play a vital role in helping your child develop good hydration habits every day.
Here’s why proper hydration matters for young children:
Boosts Their Moods and Brain Activity
Water is key to good health in children. It’s important to educate your kids on the benefits of drinking water regularly for the sake of their health. Talk to your pediatrician about how much water your child should drink each day. This will ensure that you’re sticking to the recommended amount of daily fluid intake for kids – 5 glasses or 1 liter for 5 to 8-year-olds, 7 glasses or 1.5 liters for 9 to 12-year-olds and 8 to 10 glasses or 2 liters for 13+ years. Encourage them to rehydrate their bodies whenever they feel tired and thirsty. Otherwise, dehydration may kick in, and your child’s normal brain functions such as their level of attentiveness, memory retention, and motor skills in class may be impaired, negatively impacting their academics. In fact, research shows that school kids who drink more water than their peers score higher grades.
The most common cause of constipation among young children is dehydration. Children who don’t drink enough fluids experience infrequent bowel movements and difficulty passing stool. When you take your child to the hospital, one of the simple home treatments that doctors recommend in easing constipation is increasing the intake of fluids, specifically water. As a parent, you should always remind your child of the importance of staying well hydrated throughout the day to avoid constipation and other related ailments.
Prevents Sickness and Increases Energy
Water helps remove harmful bacteria and toxins in your child’s body, reducing the chances of him or her getting sick. It also helps the blood to carry oxygen to all the body cells while maintaining the core body temperature through sweating. However, excessive sweating can lead to dehydration, consequently leading to decreased energy levels in your child. Replacing the substantial water loss ensures your child stays hydrated so that vital body organs continue to perform efficiently.
The amount of water your child needs to drink varies depending on their gender, weather conditions, age, and the physical activities they engage in. Just make sure to stick to what your pediatrician recommends for your kid. Adopting a regular habit of drinking water, eating fruits and vegetables containing lots of water can encourage your child to follow suit. Staying hydrated helps maintain the water balance in your child’s body, ensuring optimal health.
Karoline is a freelance writer who left a job in child psychology to spend more time with her own children. When not writing, she loves long hikes through the countryside.
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