The last day of school is almost a month away, which means your child is getting excited for all the adventures the summer season brings, from sports camps to backyard activities. This is your child's time to have fun while playing with friends. The not-so-fun part is figuring out ways to ensure your child avoids dehydration. Most parents already are cognizant of increased chances of dehydration under the summer heat, in which they prepare their child to intake fluids throughout the day. However, many times children are unaware when they should be drinking fluids, which increases the chance of early dehydration. Even when children know they have access to water, they fail to recognize when they should drink. Now, this article is not to scare parents for the summer, rather increase the joy of summer for their child, while including fun ways to keep them hydrated. Check out this list for fun and creative ways to encourage your children to stay hydrated this summer.
1. The Water Challenge
Using a gallon of purified water, mark lines on the bottle for every two hours starting from 7:00am to 9:00pm (or whatever time you would like, but try to make sure there are at least seven marks to indicate seven different points throughout the day to drink water). This challenge is great, specifically for children heading off to youth camps during the day. You'll notice about four of the times to drink water will be during camp time, so starting off the challenge in the morning is a great way to get your child in the rhythm of drinking water periodically throughout the day, then finishing the "challenge" in the evening when they are home.
TIP: I would suggest beginning this challenge a week or two prior to the start of camp, that way your child will develop a pattern of consuming water consistently throughout the day.
2. Incorporate Straws
Make drinking water just as fun as playing a sport in the summer with friends. Find straws with fun and wacky colors and shapes that will be fascinating to children. Incorporating fun and wacky straws will entertain your child while drinking water.
TIP: Find straws that change color when you take a sip. This will excite your child to want to drink water often.
3. Fruit Designs
No doubt fruit is a great option for staying hydrated as most fruits contain the necessary vitamins and minerals to help provide energy to the body. Buy plastic skewers and different types of fruits (preferably different color fruits: bananas, grapes, watermelon, etc.) and cut them into small, bit-size pieces. Take the plastic skewer and simply pierce through the fruits you want on each skewer to create a cool and exciting design.
4. Set An Example
Sounds cliché, right? Well, you're not wrong, but why not lead by example? After all, your child looks up to you. During the summer, try to limit drinks high in sugar from your child's sight. Having water readily accessible in both temperatures (room temperature and refrigerated temperature) will signify water should be the drink of choice. But, the only way you can really drive this home (pun intended) is by always reaching for water when your child is near, and drinking water in front of them as often as possible. The more they see you drinking water (and enjoying it!), the more likely they will be excited and enjoyed to drink water.
5. DIY Frozen Popsicle
Eating a frozen Popsicle is a staple of the American summer tradition for children. While the frozen treat is refreshing during a hot summer's day, most products are high in sugar, which can be counterproductive to staying hydrated. Instead, blend/puree different types of fruits (ones that taste well together; strawberry and kiwi, for instance) or use no-sugar-added juice and pour into ice cube trays.
TIP: If you want to be creative with a flavorful juice, use MiO drops and add with water to ice cube trays.
These are only a few ways to be creative with encouraging your child to stay hydrated during the summer. Leave a comment with any tips or tricks you use with your child!