How many times have you seen your child enjoy the water? How much water should the child be drinking each day? What are the benefits water can offer to your child? - These are simple questions but most of us are unsure of the answer. Here are the answers to those questions and everything else you need to know about keeping your toddler well-hydrated.
Importance of water in the human body:
Water plays a vital role in our day-to-day activities. Staying hydrated is crucial for the proper working of the human body. The body needs water to:
-To protect your tissues, spinal cord and joints by maintaining an optimum level of moisture in sensitive areas and by lubricating and cushioning the joints.
-To remove waste from your body through perspiration, urination and defecation.
-To digest the food by aiding in breaking down the food and dissolving minerals and nutrients.
-To transport the nutrients throughout the body - from one cell to other.
-Maintaining a healthy weight
-Improving the concentration
-Reducing the risk of chronic disease.
-Helps to control common problems such as constipation and urinary tract infection
How much water a toddler should drink:
Children between the age of one and three need 1.3 litres of fluids each day. This includes all the liquids your child intakes such as coconut water, fresh juice, soups and every liquid he consumes on a daily basis and it also includes about 350 ml of milk. Your child might feel thirstier during fever or other illnesses. The liquids he consumes helps in cooling down the body.
Toddlers who are highly active lose more water through perspiration. They can become dehydrated very easily, mainly because they ignore the thirst when they are caught up in the play.. The fluids lost from the body need to be replaced with lots of water to keep your child hydrated. Offer water to your child each time you get yourself a glass of water. Keep doing this every hour.
It is advised to keep offering fluids to your toddler several times each hour, because by the time your child realizes that he is thirsty, he might already be dehydrated, up to 3% dehydration to be precise. Your child asks for water only when he feels very thirsty or very tired or a bit dizzy.
Although to keep your child hydrated, you could give any kind of fluids, it is best to avoid sugary or aerated drinks. Packaged juice or squash with added sugar are low in nutritional value and should not be given more than 180 ml to toddlers. Every 240 ml of aerated drinks contains 100 empty calories along with the caffeine which is not good for the health of toddlers. The caffeine is not only addictive but also makes your toddler urinate frequently resulting in loss of lots of fluid through urination.
During summer or humid weather, your active toddler loses lots of fluid. Your toddler might need more than 1.3 litres of water to compensate the lost fluid. The amount of fluid he consumes during hot weather depends on the level of activity your child is involved with. Make sure your child drinks 30 minutes before an activity and every 20 minutes during the activity, especially during summer months
How to keep my child well hydrated?
It doesn't have to be water all the time. Many fruits and veggies such as watermelon, strawberries, broccoli, cucumbers, have high water content and could be offered to your toddler to keep him hydrated.
-Let your child choose his drinking cups and bottles to make drinking fun for them.
-Convert boring water into flavorful and colourful by adding frozen berries into the ice cube or by infusing water with fresh fruits or herbs.
-Prepare Popsicles with fruit puree or fruit juice without sugar. It's a fluid-rich treat.
-Let the water be easily accessible to your little ones so that they can quench their first whenever they feel like.