Question: I suspect that my kids aren't getting enough fluids each day. They just don't like to drink water. How much should they be drinking per day? What are some healthy alternatives to water?
Karen Prior responds: Water is your body’s most essential nutrient; without water, you would die in about three days. One of the best ways to get your kids to drink water is to set a good example and drink water yourself! Most adults don't drink enough water, either.
There are several things you can do to make water more appealing to children:
• Try offering seltzer water, mineral water and flavored waters.
• Dilute 100% fruit juice with water. For a special treat, mix half juice and half sparkling water.
• When making juice from concentrate, add an extra can of water.
• Keep water accessible in a cooler or in the refrigerator.
• Give kids their own personal water bottles to carry around.
• Offer lots of soups and foods with high water content.
And don’t forget foods. Foods with high water content include grapes, watermelon, oranges, cantaloupe, lettuce, cucumbers and celery.
To get a rough estimate of how many ounces of water your child needs each day, multiply your child's weight by 1.20. For example, a 40-pound child needs around 48 ounces, or about 6 cups. This formula applies to children over the age of 2 and up to 55 pounds. Children who weigh more than 55 pounds need about the same as an adult, eight glasses a day. Children under the age of 2 require much more water per pound of body weight, because their bodies are about 75% water.) If your child is active in sports or if you live in a warm climate, he will require more water.
Finally, avoid caffeinated drinks. Caffeine is a diuretic, and diuretics make you urinate more frequently. That works against the whole idea of trying to hydrate your body in the first place.
Now, go drink a glass of water!
© Karen Prior.
Karen Prior’s impressive breadth of knowledge in the therapeutic uses of yoga, nutrition and prenatal fitness is backed by solid credentials: she is a registered yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance, a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, a clinical nutritionist and a retired La Leche League leader. Karen runs a Registered Yoga School, where she offers specialized training in prenatal yoga and yoga for children through her programs MamasteYoga and Let'sPlayYoga. Karen lives in Texas with her husband and young daughter.