water, dehydration, getting children to drink water, how much water do children need

Getting ready to spend a nice summer day outdoors? Got your child’s hat? Sunscreen? Snacks? Don’t forget the most important summer must-have – a bottle of water. Drinking lots of water helps your child (and you!) stay energised, regulate body temperature and cope with the heat better.

RELATED: Why Is Water Good For You

What are the dangers of dehydration?

Dehydration can cause a medical emergency. At the risk of being nominated for The Worst Mother of the Year award I’ll share that I’ve had a child rushed to the hospital twice, because of dehydration. The first time my child had heat exhaustion after spending a very short time outside. It was a hot day, we were taking care to stay out of the sun as much as possible, but all the precautions we took weren’t enough without water. The second time my child had a bacterial infection accompanied by high fever that wouldn’t come down, because there wasn’t enough liquid in his body to flush the heat out.

On a lesser scale dehydration can cause headache, fatigue, nausea and muscle cramps, none of which adds fun to your day.

How much water should your child drink?

According to healthykids.nsw.gov.au, the recommended daily amount of fluids for a child is:

  • 5-8 years: 1l (5 glasses)
  • 9-12 years: 1.5 l (7 glasses)
  • 13+ years: 2l (8-10 glasses)

The body’s need for water increases on a hot day or when you’re exercising.

You don’t need to walk around measuring every sip your children take (although I was very close to it after our second visit to the emergency ward) to make sure they’re getting enough drinks. As long as they’re drinking small amounts regularly, they’ll be fine.

Tips for getting your kids to drink more water

  • Make water easily available at home.
  • Always carry water bottles when you go out.
  • Remind your kids often to have a drink. It’s easy to forget when they’re busy playing.
  • For smaller kids try making it fun. Have special cups with funny characters, add an ice cube on a hot day or give them a colourful straw.
  • Don’t keep sugary drinks around.
  • It’s a matter of habit – once your children are used to it, they will reach for their water bottles regularly without you having to be on the watch all the time.

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