How Much Water Should Kids Drink Each Day?
With summer right around the corner and the weather starting to heat up, it’s time to get back on top of our hydration.
While it feels more natural to think about drinking water while you’re exercising (“Hey! My body’s losing water! I should put some more water in it!”), it’s important to be consistent over the summer, too. In hotter, humid weather, we end up sweating more consistently so we need to be more conscious about replacing what we’ve lost.
Part of being an adult is knowing how to (mostly) take care of yourself. When it comes to staying hydrated, we’ve got supersized water bottles, too many hydration apps to choose from, and, our favorite, motivation-based coins you can unlock.
But what about the little ones in our lives? Summer is the perfect time for playdates and summer camps and time spent outside.
So, how much should our kids be drinking? Do they need to drink water specifically, or are they getting enough from other sources? And even if a half-gallon bottle of water might be a little big for them, should we be keeping one handy for them?
To help get your family summer-ready, we put together a helpful cheat sheet about how much water kids should drink on a daily basis. While we check our sources, it’s always important to confirm with your pediatrician to make sure you have the right information for your child’s needs.
5 Tips For Keeping Kids Hydrated
When To Start With Water - Up till about 6 months of age, babies are getting the liquids they need from breastmilk or formula. From that point on, water can be introduced. According to Healthy Children, a general rule of thumb is that children ages 1-3 years need ~4 cups of beverages per day (incl. water or milk), children from 4-8 years need ~5 cups, and older children need 7-8 cups.
- Eating To Get Hydrated - Sometimes fussy kids might not want to drink enough water. Some kid-friendly foods that can help them hit their daily intake include watermelon, strawberries, cucumbers, and other vegetables, writes Jessica Harlan for Reuters Health (but good luck with broccoli).
Liquids To Limit - Water’s not always the most thrilling drink, we get it. While water and milk should be the priorities, fruit drinks and drinks with electrolytes may be okay in moderation - just consider diluting them first, suggests Parents. Avoid sodas, sugary drinks, and flavored milks, which pack in a lot of sugar without offering much nutritional value - and can make it more difficult to switch back to comparatively plain water after.
Hydrate Yourself, Too - Kids are sponges, so it’s worthwhile to model proper hydration for them, says BBC Good Food. You can also help them be prepared by checking that they have drinks regularly, bringing your own water bottle with you, letting them choose theirs, and adding things like lemon or cucumber for a dash of flavor.
- Keep An Eye Out For Dehydration - For infants and younger kids, dehydration symptoms include being overly sleepy, no tears when crying, and fewer wet diapers. Older children will better be able to say when they’re thirsty, though it’s still good to watch out for dry lips, less need to go to the bathroom, headaches, or irritability.
A hydrated kid is sure to get the most out of their summer, from family barbecues to soccer practices and more.
Still, we know getting them to drink water can be tricky, so we want to know - do you have any secrets for getting them to stay sipping?