Every summer thousands of children are seen in emergency rooms due to dehydration. The younger your children the greater the risk, especially during hot summer months. Dehydration can lead to headaches, irritability, mood swings, delayed growth, and even cognitive impairment. While dehydration can occur any time of the year when kids are out in the heat, the risks increase. Some signs that your child is becoming dehydrated are:
- Shows signs of fatigue, restlessness and irritability
- Has dry tongue, mouth and cracked lips
- Decreased frequency of urination. Urine is not clear.
- Weight loss
- Eyes appear sunken
- Complains of being thirsty
When kids are playing and having fun, their thirst cues may not be strong enough for them to seek out fluids on their own. It is important to make hydrating a regular part of their daily routine and then increase it with increased activity and sweating.
Tips to keep kids hydrated:
- Provide them with water to drink during and after meals. If kids tend to fill up on fluids and not eat, have them drink it after their meal.
- Make a sticker chart and let your kid put up a sticker for each glass of water they drink. When they fill up the chart let them choose something fun to do.
- Get each kid their own special water bottle. Take it with you wherever you go and encourage sips throughout the day.
- Make homemade popsicles with REAL fruit, a little juice, and water.
- Have cut, water-dense fruits and veggies available for the kids to snack on throughout the day. Most water-dense kid-friendly choices are Watermelon, grapes, cucumbers, berries, celery, oranges, melons, and apples.
- Make power smoothies with frozen fruits, greens, almond or coconut milk, etc.
- Every kid loves homemade lemonade: Fresh lemon juice, water, and a little honey or Stevia for sweetness.
Remember that kids follow your lead! Don’t get them into the habit of always needing really sweet, sugary things to drink. While juice is better than nothing, the high sugar content decreases its absorbability and also adds a lot of empty calories and inflammation into the body. If your kiddo doesn’t like drinking water consider adding a little lemon, mint, cucumber, oranges, or strawberries.
Enjoy your summer, get those kids outside moving and away from electronics! Remember, make hydrating part of your daily routine and you will never get stuck somewhere without water for you and your kids.