Hydration is vital for developing children, and never more so than during the hot Utah summer. This dry desert climate brings very high temperatures, and it’s important for kids to get enough water to combat this to keep them safe and health, both in the short- and long-term.
At Smart Kids Development Center, our various child care and daycare program staff members are well-versed in child hydration based on years of caring for children. Our staff are trained on not only spotting the signs of dehydration, but also promoting positive hydration themes and helping young children develop solid habits moving forward. In this two-part blog series, we’ll go over several themes both parents and others caring for children should observe when it comes to hydration.
Particularly for children on the younger end who are constantly looking to adults for their cues in behavior, establishing strong hydration habits for kids is vital in a number of settings. It’s particularly important when it comes to time spent outside or doing physical activity, a theme you should be passing on to children whenever possible – have them drink a cup of water before and/or after going outside to play, for instance.
However, these habits are also valuable throughout the day. Some may give their child an easy-to-carry water bottle they have to fill up and drink a certain number of times in a given day, while others will promote drinking water with meals or snacks. Both methods can show positive results if you’re consistent with them.
Kids are much more likely to drink water when it’s readily available to them, especially when they’re too young to think about it regularly on their own. Be sure their common locations around the house have water available, whether it’s a bottle for their room or a pitcher always available in a place they know in the kitchen.
Some kids aren’t big on drinking water, preferring other beverages instead. It’s vital to make the right choices here: Sports drinks and sodas are loaded with sugar that’s detrimental to your child’s teeth and overall health, so they should be avoided. Rather, look for fruit juices that are 100% juice and have no added sugar or sweeteners – you can either use these alone or water them down a bit.
Down similar lines, be careful with the snacks you give kids. Sugary and sweet snacks are okay as an occasional treat, but more common snacks should be fruits like watermelon, cherry tomatoes or others that are healthy and also have high water content.
It’s also vital for parents and any other individual providing care for a child to be able to recognize the signs of dehydration, which include: