As the temperature rises and the sun shines bright, it’s important to ensure that kids stay properly hydrated during the hot weather. Dehydration can lead to a range of health issues, so it’s crucial to take proactive steps to keep children hydrated and healthy. In this blog post, we’ll share 10 practical tips to help kids stay hydrated and refreshed all summer long. Let’s dive in!
1. Water Accessibility:
Ensure that water is readily accessible for your child throughout the day. Keep a water dispenser or pitcher filled with fresh, cool water in a convenient location, such as the kitchen or backyard. Encourage your child to drink water whenever they feel thirsty or hot. Make it a habit to refill their water bottles before heading out for any outdoor activities or adventures. By having water easily accessible, your child will be more inclined to drink it regularly and stay hydrated. Creating a designated “hydration station” can also make it a fun and interactive experience for your child to refill their own water bottle.
2. Experiment with flavour/temperature:
If children complain they don’t like the taste of water, try adding slices of fruit or vegetables such as citrus fruits, berries cucumber or even herbs like fresh basil or mint for more flavour. The infused water will have a refreshing taste that kids will love. Adding fruit and vegetables can also give them a boost with vitamins too! Some children prefer colder drinks, so keeping water in the fridge or adding ice can make water more appetising, other children may prefer water at room temperature so it is important to experiment and find out what your child enjoys the best! Children can also drink fruit juices or smoothies; these count as one of your five a day and incorporate a range of fruits with many different vitamins and minerals however, they should only have 150ml of these daily as they contain concentrated fruit sugars.
3. Make ice lollies:
Beat the heat with refreshing and hydrating ice lollies. Instead of opting for store-bought varieties that are often high in sugar and artificial additives, make your own healthy and delicious ice lollies at home. This way, you have full control over the ingredients and can create flavourful treats that your child will love. Choose natural fruit juices or make fruit purees by blending fresh fruits like watermelon, berries, or citrus fruits. You can also incorporate yogurt or coconut milk for a creamy texture. Pour the mixture into ice lolly moulds and add fun elements like chopped fruit pieces or a sprinkle of granola for added texture. See our blog recipes to help you make some!
Not only are homemade ice lollies a fantastic way to keep your child hydrated, but they also provide essential vitamins and minerals from the fresh fruits. Plus, they make for a delightful summer treat that the whole family can enjoy. To make the process even more exciting, involve your child in the ice lolly-making process. Let them help choose the flavours, pour the mixture into the moulds, and insert the sticks. This hands-on experience will make them more enthusiastic about trying the ice lollies they helped create.
4. Opt for Hydrating Foods:
Include foods in their meals that have high water content, such as soups, smoothies, yogurt, and juicy fruits. These foods provide hydration and essential nutrients such as fibre, vitamin C, vitamin A, iron and folate. Fruit and vegetables make for an easy snack as well as a side for a meal, such as a vegetable salad or a fruit kebab. High water sources include cucumbers, tomatoes, melon, broccoli, oranges, apples and blueberries.
Dairy foods are a good source of water as well as vitamin D, protein and calcium. Yoghurts with fruit can be a great snack. Milk also can be an alternative to water which provides variety in the diet which can be more appealing to children – you can add a milkshake powder or fruit to change it up! You can also make homemade ice cream too and add a variety of ingredients such as fruit, nuts, seeds and honey!
5. Teddy bear picnics/Tea parties:
Organize a fun and imaginative teddy bear picnic or tea party with your child. Set up a cozy outdoor space with blankets, pillows, and their favourite stuffed animals. Encourage your child to invite their teddy bears or other toys to join in the fun. Serve refreshing beverages like fruit-infused water, herbal iced tea, or homemade fruit smoothies in small teacups or fancy glasses. This activity not only promotes hydration but also sparks their creativity and social skills. Your child will love the special atmosphere and enjoy sipping their drinks alongside their beloved teddy bears or friends.
Remember to incorporate colourful and child-friendly decorations, such as mini umbrellas, paper straws, or edible flower garnishes, to make the experience even more exciting. Capture precious moments with photos or videos to cherish the memories.
By including a teddy bear picnic or tea party in your summer activities, you’ll create a delightful and engaging way for your child to stay hydrated while enjoying quality time with their favourite toys. Enjoy the magical moments of a teddy bear picnic or tea party and keep your child hydrated all summer long!
6. Know the symptoms of dehydration:
Even with your best efforts to keep your child hydrated, it’s important to be aware of the signs of dehydration. This way, you can take prompt action if you notice any symptoms. Common signs of dehydration in children include:
- Dry or sticky mouth
- Fatigue or lethargy
- Irritability or crankiness
- Decreased urine output or dark-coloured urine
- Dry skin or lips
- Sunken eyes
- Headache or dizziness
- Rapid heartbeat or breathing
If your child exhibits any of these signs, it’s crucial to provide them with fluids immediately. Encourage them to drink water or a hydrating beverage and monitor their symptoms closely. Explain to your child the importance of checking for themselves, and if they see a darker shade in the toilet bowl, that they know to go and get a drink before running off to play.
In severe cases or if symptoms persist, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional for further guidance.
7. Share Hydration Challenges:
Turn hydration into a friendly competition by setting hydration goals for the whole family. Challenge each other to drink a certain amount of water each day and celebrate milestones together. You can even use a water tracking app or a chart to keep track of everyone’s progress.
If children get awards such as stickers for every glass of water they drink, and add it to a sticker chart, they may be encouraged to drink more as drinking water is now fun as you have turned it into a game.
8. Encourage Healthy Hydration Habits:
Encourage your child to drink water regularly by setting reminders or creating a routine. For example, you can have a designated water break every hour or encourage them to drink a glass of water before and after outdoor play.
Use fun and colourful cups or bottles: Make drinking water more exciting by using fun and colourful cups or bottles that your child will love. Opt for ones with their favourite characters or designs to make it a more enjoyable experience. You can also try cool curly straws or
9. Beat the Heat: Find Creative Ways to Stay Cool:
In hot weather, it’s important to find ways to stay cool and prevent overheating. Here are some creative ideas to help your child beat the heat:
Water play: Set up a water play area in your backyard or visit a local splash pad. Let your child splash around, play with water toys, or run through sprinklers to stay cool and have fun at the same time.
Indoor activities: Plan indoor activities during the hottest parts of the day. Engage your child in arts and crafts, puzzles, or board games. This not only keeps them entertained but also ensures they stay in a cooler environment.
Cooling snacks: Offer refreshing snacks like watermelon slices, frozen grapes, or chilled cucumber sticks. These hydrating treats not only provide essential nutrients but also help regulate body temperature.
Cold compress: If your child feels too warm, apply a cold compress or damp cloth to their forehead, neck, or wrists. This can provide instant relief and help lower their body temperature.
Shade and breeze: Seek shade and utilize natural breezes. Set up a portable shade umbrella or create a shaded area using a canopy or large umbrellas. Position seating areas where they can benefit from natural breezes to stay cooler outdoors.
Dress for the weather: Dress your child in lightweight and breathable clothing made of natural fabrics like cotton. Opt for light colours that reflect sunlight rather than absorbing heat. Don’t forget to protect their skin with sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat.
Cool baths or showers: A cool bath or shower can be refreshing and help lower body temperature. Allow your child to enjoy a cool bath or shower to cool down after outdoor activities.
Limit outdoor activities: During the hottest parts of the day, limit intense outdoor activities and opt for more relaxed and shaded activities instead. Schedule outdoor playtimes in the morning or late afternoon when the sun’s intensity is lower.
Stay well-ventilated: Ensure your home is well-ventilated and cool. Use fans or air conditioning to maintain a comfortable temperature indoors. Create a cool and cozy sleeping environment for your child to promote restful sleep.
10. Lead by Example:
One of the most effective ways to encourage your child to stay hydrated is by leading by example. Children often mimic the behaviours of their parents and caregivers, so when they see you making hydration a priority, they are more likely to follow suit. Here’s how you can lead by example:
Drink Water Together: Make it a habit to drink water together as a family. Whether it’s during meals, playtime breaks, or outdoor activities, emphasize the importance of staying hydrated and make it a shared experience.
Be Vocal About Hydration: Talk openly about the importance of hydration and its benefits. Explain to your child how drinking enough water helps them stay energized, focused, and healthy. Discuss the role of water in regulating body temperature and keeping organs functioning properly.
With these 10 tips, you can help ensure that your kids stay properly hydrated during the hot weather. Remember, hydration is essential for their overall health and well-being. By implementing these strategies, you’ll empower your children to make healthy hydration choices and enjoy a fun-filled summer without the risk of dehydration.
Stay hydrated and have a fantastic summer! Don’t forget to tag us @nutrition4kidsni on social media and share how your family is getting creative to drinking more water this summer.
Written by Dr Kirsty Porter & Eloise McCurdy