Tips for Keeping Kids Hydrated During Hot Summer Months

Kids should be encouraged to move their body every day. The general recommendations, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), say that kids should get at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity.

Naturally, with the Arizona heat, our hydration requirements increase as we lose more fluid through sweat, and especially when being more physically active (which many kids are during the summer months).

Despite the need for more fluids, and the mass promotion of electrolyte/”sports” drinks, kids should be encouraged to drink primarily water in combination with consuming a nutrient dense diet.

Here are some specific considerations when factoring in kids hydration needs during the hot summer months:

  1. Drink at least 1/2 of their body weight in ounces of water daily. Kids under 100 pounds will likely need more than this but 6-8 cups of water per day (48-64 ounces) is a good general rule of thumb.
  2. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables into their diet. These include: watermelon, apples, cantaloupe, lettuce, celery, cucumbers, as a few examples.
  3. Limit sugary drinks. Other liquids, including milk and juice can count toward hydration goals, but the sugary drinks should be limited as the RDA (recommended daily allowance) for sugar intake is only 25 grams – equivalent to 8 ounces of apple juice. Note: Most kids are consuming significantly more sugar than is recommended.
  4. Encourage kids to carry a water bottle. Find a water bottle your kids like and set goals for how many times they should refill it daily. For example, if a typical water bottle holds 24 ounces of water, a 100 pound kid would require (at least) two full bottles (50 ounces daily).
  5. Consider an electrolyte or sports drink. If you’re child is outside daily and sweats a lot, include an electrolyte powder or sports drink. Try a sugar free one or dilute with water to reduce the sugar intake.

A great way to get the day started right is to encourage your child to drink a full glass of water upon waking and another glass before heading off to camp or outside to play.

As a parent, it’s our job to lead by example, so make sure your kids see you eating plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as drinking water throughout the day. Give them plenty of opportunities to make good hydration decisions, including choosing water and fruit instead of sugary beverages and candy or chips when eating out at restaurants and at sporting events.

Ultimately, your child’s natural thirst mechanisms will help tell them when it’s time to drink, so arm them with a water bottle and the responsibility to fill it up frequently throughout the day. Additionally, pay attention to their behaviors, their energy levels, and how frequently they urinate throughout the day and night to make sure they’re staying hydrated.

Ben Brown is the owner of BSL Nutrition; a health coaching company working with clients virtually all over the world. Ben holds two Masters degrees, the first from Arizona State University in Exercise and Wellness with an emphasis in Strength & Conditioning, and the second from The University of Bridgeport in Clinical Nutrition.Most importantly, Ben is a husband and father to three young children who provide the daily love, motivation, and humility he uses as a driving force to continue to learn and grow as a man, mentor, and coach.

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