We often give this for granted, but making sure that children are well hydrated, especially in the warm season, is extremely important. They have higher water requirements in relation to their body weight (1). Energy metabolism is higher per kilogram body weight in children than in adults and is much higher in boys going through puberty (2). Consequently, children need to drink more water in relation to their body size than we do.
Signs of dehydration
Dry skin and lips
Reduced mental performance
Lack of concentration
The Natural Hydration Council advises that kids aged 4-13 should aim to drink approximately 6-8 glasses of fluid a day in addition to the water included in the food in their diet. Younger kids need relatively small drinks (e.g. 150 ml serving). The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has developed the following set of fluid requirements for children of different ages: 4 to 8 years old 1.1 – 1.3 litres a day; 9 to 12 years old 1.3-1.5 litres a day.
So, how do we keep children well hydrated?
Kids are always running around and they might not recognise the early stages of thirst. It is up to the parents (or the carers) to constantly offering them something to drink.
Encourage your little ones to drink fluids stating from the morning.
Show them that you are drinking water too in order to develop their taste for it.
Make them eat food that has more water such as soups, fruits like melon, vegetables.
(1) D’Anci KE et al. (2006) Hydration and cognitive function in children. Nutr Rev. 2006 Oct;64(10 Pt 1):457-64
(2) Constant F (2013) Hydration de l’enfant. Médecine & Nutrition. 49 1 (2013) 44-49.
(3) Booth P et al. (2012) Water supplementation improves visual attention and motor skills in schoolchildren. Education and Health 30(3), 75-79.