Making Sure Kids Drink Enough Water – Why It’s Important for Optimal Growth & Development
It’s no secret that children love eating sweets and consuming sugary drinks is no different. While drinking artificially sweetened beverages is fine in moderation, it is crucial that kids drink a constant amount of water throughout the day and do not make a habit of substituting water for sugary drinks often. In fact, drinking enough water during development is the foremost component to making sure our kids grow up strong and healthy in both body and mind!
The Importance of Sufficient Water Intake During Child Development
Water is the most vital staple of our human diet, yet it is often overlooked in favor of flavorful beverage options, such as sodas and sports drinks, especially when it comes to kids. However, drinking pure water is not only essential for proper hydration, it also aids in our cognitive and biological functions and even our brain development as well.
It’s true! Other than keeping our bodies hydrated and refreshed, drinking pure water helps improve blood circulation, metabolism, temperature regulation, memory retention, and waste removal. Furthermore, a lack of proper hydration throughout the day can lead to headaches, irritability, low physical performance, and trouble concentrating. In other words, water isn’t just a major source of all life – it’s the key to living a good and healthy one too!
Building Healthy Hydration Habits Early
It is absolutely crucial that kids get into a habit of choosing to drink water over sodas and sports drinks as prior research has shown that dietary habits and practices formed in childhood tend to be carried over to adulthood.
So, how can we as parents make sure that our kids are intaking enough water over sugary drinks? Quick answer – by example!
Drink water with your meals at the breakfast and dinner table and even as a standalone beverage in front of the kids. After all, it’s no psychological secret that children are prone to pick up on habits not only through their own interests but by observing the household and environment around them.
Hydration & Physical Activity
By nature, developing children require more water intake than adults. They have a higher water content ratio than adults, they lose more water during physical activity, especially under hotter conditions, and they also don’t retain as much water in the skin during rest either.
For these reasons, making sure that children consume enough pure water in their daily lives is vital for optimal growth and overall well-being during their developmental years.
Believe it or not, it is important to drink fluids even before starting physical activity to keep the body from fatiguing too soon. During physical activity, young children should drink about 5 oz of water every 20 minutes, with older children requiring around 9 oz every half hour. These numbers vary per child of course, depending on their height, weight, and medical history, and should be increased for outdoor physical activity in hotter states like Florida and Southern California.
Teaching Our Kids About Proper Hydration
The goal here is to ensure a habit among our children of drinking water as the primary source of hydration over sodas, sports drinks, and other artificially sweetened beverages. Many kids of today might actually think that sports drinks help with athletic performance due to how those products are marketed towards our youth. As a result, children may even come to believe that sports drinks are just as good for their health as drinking water during physical activity when that is not the case at all – there is no substitute for drinking pure water!
With advertisements of athletes and celebrities drinking and promoting sodas and sports drinks all around us, many of whom our kids might idolize and aspire to be like, it is important to remind our children about the reality of overconsuming those drinks and how even top athletes and artists all over the world need to revitalize with pure water over any other drink to be at their peak performance.
Even without the advertisements, many children grow up with the impression that they are meeting their daily water intake requirements since sodas and sports drinks are made with mostly water themselves, disregarding the artificial sugar, coloring, and flavoring added. This is exactly why our kids should be in the know about these additives and how their presence in soft drinks dilutes the beneficial effects that drinking pure water alone brings. After all, water supports the body with electrolytes just as well, if not better, than any sports drink ever invented.