Are you watering your children to help them grow?
Children need plenty of water to stay hydrated and healthy. Water makes up more than half of your child’s weight, and a steady supply is necessary to keep his body working properly. Everyone should drink at least ½ ounce of water per pound of body weight per day – plus more during hot weather and heavy exercise.
Many children state they don’t like water and it can be can be a challenge to get a child to drink it as he may prefer the sweet taste of juice, chocolate milk or soda over the plain taste of water.
It is so important to teach your child from a young age that drinking water is good for his body as well as finding ways to motivate him to consume more. Making it fun and appealing can make a huge difference.
An aid to learning
Children who do not drink enough water have shown a decline in academic performance. According to Philippa Norman, M.D., even mild dehydration impacts learning:
“Water is essential for optimal brain health and function. Water is necessary to maintain the tone of membranes for normal neurotransmission. It enhances circulation and aids in removing wastes. Water keeps the brain from overheating, which can cause cognitive decline and even damage. This is one of the main reasons to encourage students to drink water during exercise. Dehydration most commonly occurs because children go long periods of time without drinking water. When they are thirsty they often choose sweetened drinks instead of water. By the time thirst is felt, there may be a loss of body weight up to 2 percent from water loss, and a 10 percent cognitive decline may be present. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, dizziness, poor concentration and reduced cognitive abilities. Even mild levels of dehydration can impact school performance.”
More than 70% of preschoolers never drink plain water
According to a study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, more than 70% of preschool children never drink plain water. Experts believe this alarming trend is influenced by a cultural shift toward juices and sugary or caffeinated drinks. Children, who are influenced by adult models, imitate preferences for sweeter drinks.
Five tips to encourage your child to drink more water
- Make your child a chart that has space for the number of glasses of water you want him to drink each day. Every time he finishes a glass, put a sticker on his chart. If he reaches his goal for an entire week, have a water party. Fill up water balloons and have fun squirting water guns.
- Keep water accessible to your child. Fill a pitcher and keep it in the front of the refrigerator.
- Provide flavour enhancers if your child is resistant to drinking plain water. Try lemons, limes, orange or cucumber slices.
- Fill up water bottles and keep them handy so your child can grab one when he plays outside.
- Drink plenty of water yourself. When you model healthy habits, your child is more likely to follow suit.
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