We’re in the thick of the dog days of summer, and as the temperature continues to swelter, don’t forget to start thinking about how to help keep your kids hydrated. Sounds easy, right? You might be surprised. According to the American Journal of Public Health,* 1 in 2 kids is underhydrated.
The American Journal of Public Health notes that adequate hydration is essential for health and even mild dehydration can lead to headaches, irritability, poor physical performance and reduced cognitive function among both children and adults.
“Keeping your kids hydrated throughout a busy day is not always easy,” noted Dr. Douglas J. Casa, hydration researcher for more than 25 years and CEO of the Korey Stringer Institute (KSI) at the University of Connecticut.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few ways you can help keep kids hydrated and happy:
Do a “pee check”: Not sure if your kid is properly hydrated? A quick look at the color of their urine can help determine if they may need to hydrate. If their pee is dark yellow, Dr. Casa recommends reaching for a hydrating beverage that will help replenish the body. A pale yellow urine color indicates proper hydration (good job!).
Keep hydrating beverages at the ready: With at-home and on-the-go schedules looking a little different now, you may forget to keep drinks on hand throughout the day. Always stock hydrating, kid-approved beverages in your car, picnic cooler and fridge to ensure that a tasty hydration option is available.
Serve a better-for-you option: Instead of reaching for fruit juice or other sugar-laden beverages, try serving a plant-powered drink with all-natural ingredients. For example, Dr. Casa suggests one great option for hydrating kids is Creative Roots, a new coconut water beverage with all-natural ingredients and 1 gram of sugar that comes in four kid-approved fruit flavors. Dr. Casa conducted a hydration-focused research study that indicated access to Creative Roots is clinically shown to improve hydration in children.**
Make snack time synonymous with hydration time: Use everyday moments as a reminder to hydrate! For example, pairing a hydrating drink with mid-morning or afternoon snack time may help create a daily habit and help get kids closer to their recommended daily fluid intake that satisfies thirst and maintains a pale urine color.***
Make small — but smart — changes for a big, hydrating impact!
* Kenney EL, et al. Prevalence of Inadequate Hydration among US Children and Disparities by Gender and Race/Ethnicity: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009-2012. American Journal of Public Health. 2015; 105: e113-e118.
** The full report, “Nutrition, Urinary Markers and Sleep Habits in Children” will be released later in 2020 and was funded by Creative Roots.
*** The Dietary Reference Intake for water consumption for children ages 4–10 is between 5.5 and 10 cups per day.