Hydration is vital for children whose bodies are still developing, and this is especially true during the hot and dry Utah summer. Dehydration is a much larger risk at this time of year, and additional time spent outdoors doing various activities only heightens this risk for many children.
At Lit’l Scholars Learning Center, all our program staff, from preschool to daycare, summer camp and all other programs we offer, are well trained on maintaining child hydration and recognizing the signs of dehydration. Both at home and in school or daycare settings, there are several basic themes to consider for ensuring children stay hydrated – this two-part blog will dig into a number of these themes to keep in mind and promote on a regular basis.
Particularly for younger children, one of the biggest keys here is building up their habits when it comes to drinking water. This begins with giving them water, but also extends to repeatedly promoting the habit of drinking it during particular settings. A few examples here include:
- Give kids a glass of water with every meal or snack and require that they complete it along with the food.
- Require children drink a full cup of water before going outside to play, and/or after coming back inside after.
- For slightly older children, consider a reward system built around drinking a certain amount of water during the course of each day.
Making it Fun
Like many other similar activities, some children will resist drinking water – because it’s boring, because they prefer other drinks (more on this in part two) or, in some cases, simply because they’re being rebellious for the sake of it. The simplest solution here is making hydrating more fun: Let kids choose their own fun drinking cups or straws, plus consider flavor infusions that will improve taste.
One of the key areas for hydration with children, as with any individual, is surrounding significant activity where the body uses more water. As we noted above, one great habit to get your child into is drinking water before any major activity to help hydrate them.
In addition, for prolonged physical activity – especially during the 90- and even 100-degree temperatures we get here in Utah during the summer – kids should be drinking water at least every 20-30 minutes during activity. While sports drinks like Gatorade should mostly be avoided during periods of inactivity due to their sugar content, situations like this will be an exception if there’s no water available, as they contain valuable electrolytes that assist with hydration.
For more on helping kids stay hydrated during the hot, and potentially extended, Utah summer, or to learn about any of our preschool, daycare or other child care services, speak to the staff at Lit’l Scholars Leaning Center today.