Summer can be tough on parents. Not only are you battling with your usual daily tasks, but you now have young ones to look after constantly, too. And if they’re not fueling up with food, chances are they’re running around with friends, out at daytime activity clubs, or just generally soaking in the sunshine.
It’s a fabulous time for your little ones. However, all of that activity and heat can make it challenging to keep them hydrated. It’s hard enough to get children to drink water at the best of times, so when they need even more than usual? Seems impossible.
But you’re not alone. We’ve created a handy guide of ways to keep your child hydrated throughout summer so they can stay happy and healthy, keeping you on your toes.
It’s also handy to know exactly what symptoms you should be looking out for if you suspect your child is becoming dehydrated. This isn’t always simply caused by not drinking enough water- it could be down to vomiting and diarrhea, a fever, chronic illness or excessive sweating.
Signs that your child may be suffering from a lack of fluid include:
- Dry/cracked lips
- Excessive fatigue
- Low energy levels
- Little or no urine for 8 hours, or very dark urine
- Extreme agitation
- Cold, dry skin
- Fast resting heart rate
If your child seems to act delirious or very unwell, seek urgent medical attention. However, most mild cases of dehydration can be managed at home with our handy tips. It’s all about increasing the amount of water your child drinks on a daily basis, then keeping that level consistent.
Here are 11 fun and easy ways to keep your child hydrated and healthy through the hot summer months.
Purchase a water bottle
Water bottles are a very handy way to keep your child hydrated wherever you go
Remember – even if your child says they aren’t thirsty, this doesn’t mean they’re not dehydrated. So, to prevent any unwanted illness whilst out and about, a water bottle is perfect.
Kool8’s reusable bottles are the best on the market as they are industrial strength. This means that even if your child is climbing, running or rolling around in the mud, the bottle won’t get damaged!
Plus, each bottle features double-walled vacuum insulation, meaning that your child’s water will stay cool for 24 hours. After all, water always tastes better ice cold.
And, if your child prefers flavored water, every bottle comes with a tea infuser so you can add your own (decaffeinated) flavors.
If you really can’t convince your child to keep glugging water, then you’ll need to look for ways to be a little more inventive.
Making popsicles is a great way to keep your child hydrated without them even noticing.
Get them excited by making the treats together and asking your child to choose their own flavors.
Steer clear of caffeine though, as this isn’t great for your child’s health. Mix 100% fruit juice with water for the ultimate, tasty summer snack. You could even add fresh fruit, such as strawberries or raspberries.
Not only is this a great way to cool off and consume a good amount of water, but it also doubles up as a fun summer activity.
Create a fluid schedule
If you have a really active child, it may be time to introduce a new game into their schedule. Creating a fluid chart is the best way to keep not only your child drinking enough water, but you, too.
Using a simple excel document or even just some grid paper, mark out when your child will be outside playing, when they will be doing sports, and when they’re going to be having meals.
This way, you can clearly see when they should be drinking and can keep track much easier.
Keep this fun by introducing colours, pens and even stickers, so your child can mark off every time they have had a drink.
There’s plenty of fun ways to do this on this Pinterest board. If your child’s schedule isn’t very set, you may find it easier to give them a goal to drink 8 glasses of water each day and ask them to mark off each one.
No, you didn’t read that incorrectly! Sometimes, the best way to get your child to consume more water may just be to get them to drink it.
20% of our fluid intake comes from food anyway, so there’s nothing wrong with giving this amount a little boost if your child isn’t drinking enough.
Watermelons are 92% water and have been proven to be almost double as effective at hydrating as water, according to the University of Aberdeen.
Cucumber contains 96% water, and even the least-likely banana contains 74%.
Cutting these foods into fun shapes and offering them to your child as healthy snacks are not only a great way to keep their nutritional intake high, but keeps them topped up with water without them even noticing.
Other options include strawberries and spinach (although maybe not at the same time), standing in at 92% water, iceberg lettuce with 96%, or even radishes at 95%.
Another strong option is offering your child milk, which may come as a surprise, but it is fantastic for rehydration purposes thanks to its high-quality protein, carbs, calcium and electrolytes.
Always have a pitcher handy
If you’re having a fun family day in the garden, although you won’t admit it, you may just find that you’re feeling a little too lazy to run backward and forwards to the tap or fridge all the time. This is where a pitcher can come in handy.
Simply fill up a large jug with water and ice cubes and take it with you into the garden to keep the whole family drinking.
Plus, you’re much more likely to keep sipping if the water is right in front of you, as it acts as a constant reminder.
Consider adding natural flavors to the water for a refreshing summer twist such as lemon, lime, cucumber or even mint. This will also convince your child that their beverage is more like juice than plain old water.
Keep things humorous
It’s a little bit on the strange side but your child will probably find it hilarious to discuss the color of their urine! Keeping check of this will give you a good indication of just how hydrated your child actually is, rather than asking them if they’re thirsty.
According to DripDrop, pale yellow to clear is a good sign that your child is well-hydrated. Light or transparent yellow is pretty similar.
Urine that is honey colored usually means your child is still well-hydrated, but it’s time to start thinking about that next drink.
Any color that is dark yellow, amber or orangish is a sign of dehydration. Any urine that is particularly dark may mean that you need to contact your child’s doctor.
This all may sound a little embarrassing to you, but the likelihood is that your child will more than happily chat with you about it and give you a good idea of how they are doing.
Try coconut water
Coconut water can be very refreshing on hot days and provide a different taste for your child. Make sure to stick to plain coconut water, rather than anything with added sugar or sweeteners. Sugary drinks can rack up your calorie intake without you even noticing, in fact, almost half of added sugar in the average American’s diet is made up of sugary drinks.
Natural coconut water is rich in potassium and fat and cholesterol free, making it much better for your child.
As well as keeping your child drinking, coconut water is packed full of nutritional value. You could try making a coconut water alcohol-free cocktail by adding it to fresh juice for a sweet treat.
However, it isn’t as effective as water and shouldn’t be viewed as a substitute, according to registered dietician Andrea Giancoli.
Play follow the leader
One of the simplest ways to get your child to drink more is by you drinking more. Kids take after their parents naturally, so if they see you glugging glasses of water, they will more than likely follow suit.
Consider making games out of it, buying matching Kool8 bottles, or even simpling saying ‘cheers’ every time you have a sip.
Your child will thank you when they’re older for getting them into the habit of staying hydrated from a younger age, as it is much harder to pick up as an adult.
Children learn better and quicker than the majority of adults, so getting them into good, healthy habits while they’re young is the best way to go.
Drink sparkling water
A lot of people generally either love or hate sparkling water. However, once they see the bubbles, your kids will probably learn to love it.
The bubbles make sparkling water a fun, easy way to take soda out of your kid’s diet without them even noticing. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime as you would with normal flavored water and you’re good to go.
The best thing about this is you’re not having to sacrifice any of the hydration benefits that you have to when decided to make juice pops or drink coconut water.
It has the same amount of fantastic benefits, just with a little bit of carbonation.
The only time you may want to favor plain water over sparkling is if your child is exercising, as the carbonation can cause a small amount of bloating which could least to stomach discomfort.
Add ice to every drink
Now, nobody’s perfect. Most kids enjoy a soda or other type of fizzy drink from time to time. You might think this is a bit of a lost cause- however, that is simply not the case!
To keep your child’s hydration levels up while they drink carbonated beverages, add a couple of ice cubes.
So, even though your child is consuming something not-so-hydrating as a treat, the water in there will be keeping them hydrated without them even realizing.
This is so easy even when you’re out and about too, as most cafes will automatically add ice to drinks.
If your child isn’t so keen on ice cubes, try making them together. This fun activity will not only keep them occupied but is a great way of showing them that ice cubes are nothing to dislike!
Try adding fruit to add a little bit of taste in there, too.
Red fruits taste great in cola, and citrus matches lemonade well.
Plan around meal times
Drinking a glass of water before and after meals is not only a great way of keeping water intake up but makes sure that your child is eating the right amount of food too. Not everyone has the same routine every day, but most people with children will enjoy three meals each day.
Making a small rule that everyone around the table has to drink a glass of water before and after meals is a great way to boost your child’s hydration levels.
These tiny pockets of time are fantastic for making sure the whole family is drinking and means that you actually view your child drinking water rather than just taking their word for it.
According to Nutrition Stripped, routines help to hardwire our brain to actions, which affects our behavior and ultimately how we feel.
This means that your child will soon view drinking water as a simple daily activity, rather than as a chore.
The bottom line
We really hope that these tips will help you to keep your entire family healthy and hydrated throughout the summer.
The truth is that it can be hard to convince your child to drink enough fluid, but introducing a few simple tips and tricks like these will hopefully get you well on your way to a summer that is full of fun and games, rather than hospital trips.