In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics on keeping your child hydrated in a hot location like Utah. Most important during the summer, but still highly relevant through the rest of the year as well, child hydration plays a big role in not only their immediate health, but also their long-term growth and development.
At Lit’l Scholars Learning Centers, all our preschool, daycare, summer camp and other child care staff are well-trained in basic hydration themes, from recognizing possible danger signs of dehydration to positive ways of promoting healthy, regular drinking. In today’s part two of our series, we’ll go over some additional child hydration tips to keep in mind for your kids on a normal basis to ensure they stay healthy and hydrated throughout the year.
As we discussed in part one here, some children will be resistant to drinking water when asked. Others will simply forget about their hydration during the course of their day, which is natural for many younger kids.
For these reasons, it’s vital for adults in charge of their care to know the potential signs of dehydration if they take place in your child. They include:
- A cracked mouth and dry, cracked lips
- Dark-colored urine, or a major decrease in urine output compared to normal
- Cold or dry skin
- Drowsiness or irritability beyond normal routines
- Low energy levels
- Feeling weak or limp
- When crying, no tears are present
If you notice these signs in any child in your care, it’s vital to get them water and potentially medical attention immediately.
Water and Food Substitutes and Additions
With certain kids, the biggest hurdle to proper hydration will be a dislike of water. Many learn early on that they prefer other drinks, including unhealthy ones like sodas or high-sugar energy drinks. But these are poor options that contain several harmful ingredients, plus don’t assist with hydration – instead, you should be giving substitutions like fruit juice (100% juice only) or even actual fruit placed in their water to improve the flavor.
Down similar lines, snacks actually play a role in child hydration as well. Where possible, look to promote snacks like watermelon, apples, tomatoes or cucumbers, all of which are very healthy and also have high water content. While the occasional sugary treat is just fine, do your best to promote these healthier alternatives.
Finally, for those children we referenced above who often forget about their hydration needs – many kids fall into this pattern during activities they enjoy – it’s good to have a reminder system in place. This might be some kind of chart they can mark, or it could be a water bottle or container that’s assigned to them and must be filled and completed a certain number of times per day.