Everyone knows the fact that water is essential for survival. However, not everyone really understands how insufficient hydration affects body functioning and performance. Hence, many fail to provide the body the simplest thing that it needs to be at its best and function as it is designed. This is a particularly alarming fact in the case of children as they have higher body water requirements than adults. If you are a parent who knows that the best water bottles for kids will just be the quickest and easiest thing that anyone wanting their children to be properly hydrated wherever they are, this concern will not be in your checklist.
But if your a mom or a dad who often notice your child becoming irritable, unable to focus at what he or she is doing, and displaying a dip in his or her academic performance, perhaps it is time that you check on your child’s hydration level on a regular basis. It is best that you learn the facts to kids’ hydration early and do something about it as soon as you can. You can not entrust your child’s health to just anybody else. It is your prime responsibility. You may not know it, perhaps your child may seem to be too independent that it seems irrelevant to show your concern for him or her at the moment. The truth, however, is that your child is totally dependent on you no matter how strong he or she seems to be.
You must realize that children do not have a reliable thirst mechanism. Well, that is actually true even for adults. But kids just don’t possess a full-functioning thirst mechanism, so they really can’t figure out if they are already experiencing the early stages of thirst. They may even think that they are thirsty when in fact they are actually hungry. They may also suppress their feeling of thirst, especially when they are too focused in what they are doing. You might just notice them actively participating an activity for hours without even taking a sip of water or any beverage. Later on, you’ll observe that they’d start becoming fuzzy and will be irritable.
Young children do not always recognize the first stages of thirst. That’s the reason why they are quite vulnerable to dehydration. It’s only when they have lost body water that is equal to about 1-3% of their body weight that they feel and think that they are thirsty. An alarming finding of a study conducted by the researchers at the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, indicated that more than half of the younger generation of students are not properly hydrated.
As a matter of fact, 54.5% of the 4,134 participants aged 6 to 19 years in the study were found to have urine concentrations that categorized them as one of those who have below their minimum daily water intake. “Even though for most of these kids this is not an immediate, dramatic health threat, this is an issue that could really be reducing quality of life and well-being for many, many children and youth,” Erica Kenney, one of the postdoctoral research fellows in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard Chan School and a lead author of the study impressed.
Even if it is just a mild case of dehydration, it can still affect the child’s cognitive functions. As mentioned earlier, it can cause tiredness, headaches, lack of concentration, a whole lot of negative physical and mental effects on the child.
Fortunately, this public problem requires a simple solution. If everyone will focus on helping children drink an adequate amount of water, we can easily improve their hydration levels. Once they get used to this practice, it will be easy for them to do it more frequently on their own. Soon it will be a part of their lifestyle and no one else will have to remind them to do it every now and then.
One of the best ways to do that is to remind them to bring what they may consider as the best water bottle for kids wherever they may go. They can just sip smartly while they are doing their homework, seatwork, or are engaged in any intense activity in school, in the playground, or wherever they are.
Is water enough to provide them adequate hydration?
The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF), an international organization that provides research-based guidelines for the types of fluid to drink. They recommend water as the only fluid that one can drink much as it hydrates minus the calories or damaging the teeth.
But how much does your child really need to drink?
There are several factors that can affect your child’s hydration requirements. It will depend on his or her age, gender, environmental condition, intensity of their activity and overall health. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has developed a set of fluid requirements for children of different ages as follows:
Boys and girls ages 4 to 8 years need to consume fluid from drinks of about 1.1-1.3 liters per day;
Girls ages 9 to 13 years need to consume fluid from drinks of about 1.3-1.5 liters per day; and
Boys ages 9 to 13 years need to consume fluid from drinks of about 1.5-1.7 liters per day.
For a detailed explanation on the appropriate levels of hydration, visit this article written by H.Gibson-Moore of the British Nutrition Council.
Here are additional tips that can keep your child properly hydrated:
- Encourage your child to drink plenty of water at regular intervals and not just when he or she is thirsty.
- Start hydration as early as in their breakfast. You can also encourage them to get hydration from healthy fluid alternatives such as milk, fruit juices, smoothies, as well as from fruits and vegetables.
- Make drinking more fun for your kids. Allow them to bring the best water bottle for kids that they can find. They’ll be encouraged to drink more if they love their water bottle. Find one with interesting designs and added features that will allow them to use the water bottle longer.
- You can also encourage them to drink more water if you add some flavor to it. Squeeze some lemon or other fruit juice into their water bottle and have them carry the bottle wherever they are.
- These are just a few of the things that will help you encourage your child to hydrate often and get the adequate amount of body fluid that they need.