Active Kids: The Importance of Staying Hydrated

Active Kids: The Importance of Staying Hydrated

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An active lifestyle is a healthy choice for every family member, but ensuring your child's hydration during sports or physical activities is crucial. Whether your child is participating in sports or enjoying playtime, it's essential to promote water intake before, during, and after the activity. Children aged 9-12 should strive for 3–8 ounces of water every 20 minutes during intense exercise, while teens may need 34–50 ounces per hour. Establishing proper hydration habits should commence in the days leading up to the activity. Even moderate activities like playing at the park require attention to fluid replenishment, especially if your child is sweating. For activities lasting over an hour or involving significant sweating, electrolyte-supplemented beverages may be beneficial.

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Choose Water for Healthy Hydration

Elevate your family's health with water, the pinnacle of beverages for kids. With zero calories and no added sugar, it becomes the cornerstone for strong bones, joints, and teeth. Ascend to new heights of well-being with benefits spanning blood circulation support, weight management aid, and enhanced mood, memory, and attention. As an economically savvy choice, water outstrips sports drinks and sodas. Ascertain the techniques to make water the elevating force in your family's beverage repertoire.

How much water do children need?

Gain aqua insight into your baby's hydration journey, commencing the water odyssey at 6 months. A subtle 4-8 ounces daily until the first-year milestone, weaving seamlessly with the liquid support of breastmilk or formula. As the chapters unfold, children aged 1-3 should aim for approximately 4 cups daily, evolving to 5 cups for 4-8-year-olds, and culminating at 7-8 cups for the older cohort. Grasp the fluid understanding, acknowledging that these benchmarks sway with individual peculiarities, activity levels, and environmental nuances like heat and humidity.

How to help your family choose water

Combine water consumption with snack time. Pairing water with healthy snacks makes it a double win for nutrition and hydration.

Set up a hydration station with an array of colorful fruits and veggies. Let each family member pick their favorites, turning hydration into a visually appealing and customizable experience.

Create a DIY popsicle station at home, complete with a variety of fruit purees, molds, and decorative elements. Let your kids take charge of the process, fostering a sense of ownership over their hydration choices.

Drinks to limit

Amid the myriad of options, water and milk emerge as the healthiest choices for kids. The marketing blitz targeting children often shrouds alternative drinks in excessive sugar, surpassing daily limits. Deciphering these myths and prioritizing water and milk is fundamental for fostering your child's well-being.

Make a parental decree: no sugar-sweetened beverages for children under 2, with a conscious effort to minimize them for older kids. This includes sports drinks, sodas, juice cocktails, lemonade, and sweetened water. This directive nurtures a habit of opting for plain water, avoiding unnecessary "empty calories" that can contribute to health challenges such as excess weight gain and dental problems.

Fostering awareness about juice consumption is crucial for parents navigating the path of promoting both taste and nutrition for their kids. Despite containing some vitamins, 100% juice should be strictly limited due to its high sugar and calorie content and lack of fiber found in whole fruits. Introducing juice can make it challenging to encourage children to embrace plain water. Guidelines include no juice for children under a year, 1-3 years limited to 4 oz per day, and older children advised to opt for juice only when whole fruits are unavailable. For children aged 4–6, no more than 4–6 oz per day, and for ages 7–18, a maximum of 8 oz per day is recommended.

Navigate the realm of sugary drinks with confidence. Steering clear of flavored milk aids in preventing a preference for sweetness, fostering a healthier relationship with beverages.

Signs of dehydration

As children grow, so do their abilities to communicate feelings. Nevertheless, it's vital to stay vigilant for signs of dehydration, from dry lips to irritability, ensuring their optimal health.

Heat-related illnesses

With the arrival of hot weather, children face an increased risk of dehydration and heat-related concerns. Recognizing the differences between heat exhaustion and heat stroke is vital for parents. This awareness enables you to take swift and effective action to protect your child's health during periods of elevated temperature.

When to seek medical assistance

When worries about dehydration or heat-related illnesses arise, promptly contact your pediatrician. In cases of extreme lethargy, unresponsiveness, vomiting, cessation of sweating, or complaints of severe abdominal pain, seek the emergency room or call 911. While rare, quick medical intervention can be paramount.


Cultivating adequate hydration ensures optimal functioning of the body and mind, fostering strength and vitality. Integrate water into meals and snacks, and allocate a few additional minutes to pack water bottles before stepping out. Guiding your children to choose water as a priority, while demonstrating the behavior, establishes enduring habits for a lifetime!

Reading next

Fueling Activity: A Guide to Hydration
Hydration Tips for Active Families

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