(BPT) - Whether kids are running around in the yard, playing on a community sports team or going to the local pool, there’s nothing better than summer fun outdoors. However, the heat paired with activity means it's extra important to make sure your kids are drinking enough water. Water makes up 60% of your body, making it a vital nutrient for your well-being. Not only can it help protect your organs and regulate your body temperature, water is also key for avoiding dehydration.
“Our bodies lose water in more ways than you’d think,” says Julie Harrington, a registered dietitian and culinary nutrition chef. “It can leave our bodies through sweat, tears or going to the bathroom. Water can also evaporate from the vapor of our breath when we breathe.”
Harrington says kids should be drinking about 6 to 8 cups of water per day. While getting some kids to drink the right amount of water can be challenging, there are a few different strategies you can try:
Make water easily accessible at home
When it comes to your kids, if it’s out of sight, it’s often out of mind. So, if you’re trying to get them to drink more water at home, making water more visible and easily accessible is half the battle. Keep water in multiple places around the house, like on an eye-level shelf in the fridge, in a see-through cooler in the backyard or on their nightstand.
Infuse water with a variety of healthy flavors
Some kids may think that water tastes bland, but that’s something you can change. In fact, you can add a lot of flavor to water without compromising its nutritional benefits by adding natural fruits and herbs. Infused water is easy to make. All you need is some fresh produce, a container and water. Here are a few different infusion combinations that are both healthy and tasty:
- Strawberry with lemon and basil
- Pineapple and mango
- Strawberry, kiwi and lime
- Cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon
Make drinking water fun
Drinking water for the sake of drinking water can be boring for some kids. Since kids associate things with positive or negative memories, why not associate water with fun activities? Have your kids help you make shaped ice cubes or fun summer-themed flavored water. You can even make snacks like healthy ice pops, too.
Keep the water cold
Water can help your kids feel refreshed and energized, especially if it’s chilled. So if you want your kids to drink water regularly, keep it cold by keeping a pitcher in a cooler or the refrigerator. If it’s lukewarm, add ice cubes and let it sit for a few minutes.
Be a good role model
Whether you realize it or not, your children watch and mimic a lot of what you do. If they see you drinking water regularly throughout the day, they may be more likely to copy that habit. Drink water at mealtimes or when you’re doing an activity with them unrelated to food.
“Children mimic what you do, especially when it comes to eating and drinking,” says Harrington, “so use it as a force for good.”
Keep your kids healthy and hydrated this summer
Ensuring your kids get enough water can seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. When your kids stay hydrated during the summer, they can make the most of everything they do and lower their risk for getting exhausted or sick in the process.
Next time you're at the grocery store make sure you look for the Produce for Kids logo. The logo can help guide you to healthy food options. Did you know that Produce for Kids can also help you serve your community? Check out healthyfamilyproject.com to learn how the food you buy can help you give back to local food banks.