By: Karen Manschot, MS, RDN, LDN
Guest Post Writer
Summer continues to move right along – it is hard to believe that it is already August! Days are longer, the sun is more intense, and it seems that the heat and humidity are here to stay. School will be out for a few more weeks and it is prime time to enjoy the remaining longer, sunnier days. Also, for mnay, sports will be gearing back up soon for and children will be playing in the heat of the sun.
With increased time in the sun, comes an increased risk for dehydration. For parents with children who are involved in sports or are especially physically active, it can feel daunting to determine what, and when, your child should drink fluids. Choosing to adopt an “all fluids fit” approach to hydration can help both you and your active child feel more at ease about hydrating this summer.
A Google search of “hydration tips for kids” yields a staggering 14 million results. Many of the articles from this search promote the consumption of water as a primary means of hydration. Water consumption is certainly important for kids and adults alike. Our bodies are approximately 60% water and our muscles are approximately 75% water. Water serves to lubricate our joints and tissues, it helps regulate our body temperature, it transports nutrients and oxygen to and from our cells, and it transports wastes out of our body.
We consume water in its liquid form, of course, and it’s the main ingredient in all beverages. So, children consume water no matter the beverage they are drinking. It is also present in varying amounts in the foods that we eat. More on that in a future post.
Structure and Hydration
For kids, fluid consumption can sometimes be tricky. Children may not initially notice how thirsty they are if they are wrapped up in a game or activity. As parents, it is important to provide structure with hydration, just as it is important to provide structure with meals and snacks.
- Provide water or another beverage at meal and snack times.
- Offer water every 15-20 min when they are playing outside, at practice, or at a game (when appropriate). Encourage children to take a few (3-5) gulps of water.
- Before and after long periods of activity, encourage the consumption of greater quantities of water.
If you are unsure as to whether or not your child is getting enough to drink, take note (or have them look and report back to you) on the color of their urine. If urine is a pale yellow, like lemonade, they are likely well hydrated. If urine is dark, like apple juice, they likely need to up their fluid intake.
Increase the Appeal
If drinking more water seems like a daunting task, the implementation of the following ideas may help to increase the appeal of water:
- Choose a fun water bottle or reusable cup
- Have your child pick out their own reusable bottle or cup.
- Pick something with a fun design, a favorite tv or book character, and make it theirs by putting their name on it.
- Add a straw
- Sometimes, it can just be easier to drink when you have a straw! Sipping on water while in the car or running errands can be made easier when using a straw, as some spills may be prevented. Consider purchasing reusable or paper straws so as to not use plastic.
- Add fresh or frozen fruit to water for additional flavor
- Lemon and lime slices in water are classic additions, but you can also try melon, strawberries, mango, or peaches!
- Be a role model – drink water at meal and snack times
- All kids want to grow up. They want to do what you do. And if they see you drinking water, they too will want to drink water
For more information on how to keep your child well hydrated this summer and into the fall, keep an eye out for the other posts within this series. Do you have specific questions about your child’s sports nutrition? Contact Karen to set up an appointment.
Karen Manschot, MS, RDN, LDN — Lutz, Alexander & Associates Nutrition Therapy
Guest Post Writer
Karen provides nutrition therapy with for adolescents and adults with a variety of nutrition concerns, including disordered eating and sports nutrition. She also leads an Intuitive Eating group that provides both psychoeducation and support for adults on their Intuitive Eating journey. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics & Nutrition and Fitness & Health at Purdue University where she was a student-athlete competing in distance events for the Purdue Women’s Cross Country and Track and Field teams. Karen completed her dietetic internship and Master of Science degree in Nutrition & Dietetics at Northern Illinois University, where she also served as a volunteer assistant coach for the Women’s Cross Country and Track and Field teams. She utilizes motivational interviewing and a non-diet approach to assist clients in improving their relationship with food. Karen sees clients in Raleigh, NC and virtually. To contact Karen directly you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org