The article highlights the importance of drinking water and provides some appropriate drink options to keep children hydrated.
By Sherly Ganesh
“Pure water is the world's first and foremost medicine.” — Slovakian proverb
Fluid requirements depend on various factors such as age, gender, weight, physical activity and weather conditions. However, the exact amount required by an individual is yet to be quantified. On an average, children require 5–7 glasses of water along with plenty of fruits and shakes in their diet. But younger children require smaller quantity in each serving than older children.
With the advent of summer and rising temperature, the body’s water requirement also increases. However, most children fail to recognise early stages of thirst, which is the body’s way of indicating that it time to replenish its water reserve. Diminished fluid levels in the body or dehydration can cause a host of problems in children. Some of them are loss of body weight, lack of concentration, reduced mental performances, frequent headaches, tiredness and dry skin. So, adequate hydration is vital for maintaining good health. Read on to know more about how to keep children healthily hydrated:
For babies in this age group, breastfeeding is ideal. Not only does it fulfil their nutritional needs but also provides them with the required amount of fluids.
Children can be breastfed until they are 12 months old. But once they are 6 months old, they can also be given pure fruit juices. For children who experience regular hunger pangs, a bottle of milk should be kept ready to regulate the fluid supply. Also, children more than 6 months old can be fed from a cup instead of a feeding bottle.
Young children have higher amount of water in their body than adults. Therefore, it is important to provide them with enough fluids to keep them hydrated. Children attending a kindergarten or playschool should take along a water bottle and teachers should encourage them to drink from it. Remember, it is important to monitor fluid intake in children of this age group as most of them are unable realise the early stages of thirst.
Children are less heat tolerant and are more likely to suffer from dehydration as they are physically active. Teachers and care providers at school should prompt them to drink plenty of fluids and also ensure that they have access to water.
The author is a nutritionist at Columbia Asia Hospital, Bangalore.
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