We’re well into summer here in the northern hemisphere. The weather here in Northern Ireland is usually a far cry from the dry, hot days of my first 3 decades on the Canadian Prairies. However, we have had some great heat here recently and with Phil off work, we’ve been taking full advantage of it by gardening, barbecuing, and doing beach crafts.
While us adults know when we are thirsty and we’ll stop our activities to have a drink, our little ones may not be able to verbalise how they are feeling or want to stop their play to rehydrate. Thus it’s extra-important for us to keep our children healthy and happy and hydrated during the warm weather.
Here are my top 16 tips on keeping kids hydrated:
- Start the day right by serving your children extra milk in their cereal along with a big drink on the side.
- Keep a jug of water in the fridge so that there will always be some refreshing, cold water ready for thirsty throats.
- For toddlers and preschoolers you can keep a child-sized jug in the fridge and let them pour their own water. They’ll think it’s a ‘cool’ novelty and at the same time they’re also working on their motor skills!
- If you are exclusively breastfeeding, there is no need to suppliment with water, just keep feeding your baby on demand and your body will adjust accordingly! Contact your local La Leche League group leader if you have any questions.
- Use a special cup if your child isn’t interested in drinking. Sometimes using a ‘grown up’ coffee mug will do the trick to make them feel special.
- If your child is old enough, be sure to use ice cubes in their drinks. Those magical little cubes keep melting and children love to watch the process and sip up the cold liquid.
- Serve chilled soup for lunch in a fancy glass and give it a new name. Soups that you use the blender for are perfect for this, such as carrot, squash & sweet potato, tomato, etc. My children love chilled soup and have it by their own requests.
- Make some healthy homemade popsicles for those extra hot days and when the children deserve a treat. Our latest batch was cranberry juice with pineapple chunks.
- Why not make a special thermal bottle to take with you when you’re out and about with the kids? Keep your water cool, look cool, and learn a little science at the same time!
- Serve lots of veggies for snacks. They are packed full of water, colourful, and can be served up many ways-slices, sticks, done up on a skewer.
- Throw a bottle of water into your car or stroller for future use. It may be warm later, but warm water is better than nothing if you’ve been caught up later than you expected while out. It can also be used to top up your radiator or window washer fluid levels in the event it is needed.
- If your little ones are tired of water and you need them to drink, add about 10% real fruit juice 90% water. This little bit of juice won’t have any nutritional content, and the acid isn’t good for young teeth between meals, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do to keep them drinking.
- Along the same vein, water is always best, but if you do treat your child to another drink between meal, be sure that there aren’t any artificial sweeteners in it. They can cause more harm than sugar. Always read your labels, drinks with bright coloured labels and cartoon characters rarely contain only fruit juice and water.
- Why not try making a smoothie for a snack. Throw some fruit, yoghurt, and milk in a blender and voila! Use a little extra milk and/or some ice cubes to increase the fluid content.
- Make good, old-fashioned lemonade. And while you are doing this, add a little float and sink science to it!
- And finally, now that you have the kids hydrated and happy, don’t forget about yourself. If you’re not hydrated you’ll not feel well and the kids need you happy and energetic, too!
What else would you add to this list? Please let us know what you do! Have a wonderful summer, no matter where you are or what you are doing!
See our page about beverages for more drink ideas, and browse through our summer fun page for ideas to keep the children busy and learning!