We all know that water is important for the body to function properly. But, do you know that the water requirement for children change according to their age?
By Monali Bordoloi
Ranjita Chapekar, mother to 11-year-old Vidhaan, is worried that her son does not drink enough water. He prefers soft drinks and fruit juices instead of water. This habit of Vidhaan has started to take a toll on his health as he has started putting on weight, and has become lethargic compared to other children of his age. Now, Ranjita is frantically searching for ways to make her son drink more water.
So, what can be done? To begin with, get children to drink plenty of water! Yes, it can be a difficult task for the parents, more so as sugary and colourful juices are easily available in the market to lure our children. However, it is important to make our children understand that nothing can replace water. Water is required for proper functioning of the body, right from protecting the tissues, joints to helping in digestion, and much more.
However, it is also important to know that the amount of water a child needs daily depends on his or her age, gender, climate and activity level. So, with the onset of summer, it becomes vital that your child drinks more water than usual. Water intake should be more, specially if your child plays outdoors or actively pursues sports.
But, how do you decide how much should your child drink? Scroll down to know about the amount of water a child of a certain age should drink. We also bring to you some useful tips on how to get your child to drink more water.
The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) suggests that we should let our thirst guide our water consumption.The Children's Hospital of Orange County, California recommends that the children should drink number of cups of water equal to their age, where one cup is equal to 8 ounce. According to them, the daily recommended amount of water is:
1 to 2 years - 1 to 2 cups of water
3 to 4 years - 3 to 4 cups
5 to 8-years - 5 cups (1 litre)
9 to 12 years - 7 cups (1.5 litres)
13 years and above - 8 to 10 cups (2 litres)
(Eight 8-ounce cups = 2 litres)
It is better to introduce water once your baby is six months old. Just a few sips of water everyday should be enough for the baby. When they are drinking, let them hold their sippy cups and enjoy their drink!
This is the best time to educate your child about the importance of water and the best way to do this is by being a role model yourself. Drink enough water in front of them. Another trick is to serve them water in attractive cups or glasses of their own. Also, making them drink their water with straws will make drinking water a fun activity for your child.
In this age group, a child should ideally drink around one litre of water. In order to do this, make water available all the time and do not keep a stock of colourful, fizzy drinks at home. If possible, make them take water by themselves from water dispensers. This will encourage them to drink more water. You can also use different shapes and sizes of glasses to make the process of drinking water exciting!
At this stage, the importance of water and its role in the human body should be taught to the children. Make the whole experience fun for them by introducing infused water or detox water. As children are more attracted to visually appealing things, the colourful fresh fruits or herbs in water will encourage them to drink more.
It is ideal for a thirteen-year-old to consume eight to ten glasses of water per day. If your teen is fond of juices, you can mix water with fresh juice. Involving teens in making infused water also increases the chances of them drinking more water as they feel excited to try out something new.
Do you know that you can lose weight by drinking enough water? Flip through the ClipBook below to know about the amazing benefits of drinking water.
Get creative in preparing infused or detox water. Try adding different types of seasonal fruits and herbs in tall transparent water bottles and ask your child to drink from that bottle. You can add fruits like strawberries, orange, sweet lime, lemon. You can also add cut pieces of cucumbers and mint leaves to make it more flavourful. If your child is fond of a particular fruit, you can make infused water with that fruit.
Word of caution: Drinking too much water can lead to water intoxication, where sodium levels in our bloodstream drops dangerously. So, drink your required amount of water, but don't go overboard!
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