Thirsty for Knowledge: Tackling the Issue of Children’s Water Intake

Young girl drinking water because she is thirsty

Did you know that most children are not drinking enough water throughout the day? Recent research shows that only one in five children meet the recommended daily intake of water. In this article, we will discuss the current guidelines for daily water intake, the benefits of drinking water, the reasons behind this trend, and provide tips for parents to encourage their children to drink more water.

So, what are the current guidelines for children’s water intake? The current UK NHS guidelines for children’s daily water intake vary depending on age. For children aged 4-13, it is recommended that they drink 6-8 cups (1.2-1.5 liters) of water per day. For children aged 14-18, it is recommended they drink 8-10 cups (1.8-2 litres) of water per day. The American Academy of Paediatrics’ recommends children between the ages of 4 and 8 should consume at least 5 cups of water a day, while children ages 9 to 13 should drink at least 7 to 8 cups of water a day. These guidelines are based on the amount of water needed to maintain proper hydration levels and support normal bodily functions.

But why is it so important for children to drink enough water? Well, hydration is essential for children’s overall health and well-being. It helps regulate body temperature, helps nutrients and oxygen reach cells, lubricates joints, and flushes toxins out of the body. Drinking enough water can help with concentration, digestion, and even prevent headaches. On the other hand, not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration, which can cause fatigue, irritability, and even affect cognitive function. 

Despite the numerous benefits of drinking water, studies show that children don’t drink enough. A study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics found that only 15% of children aged 4 to 13 drank the recommended amount of water per day while another study found that children’s water consumption decreased as they got older. A study published by the American Journal of Public Health found that more than half of American children and teenagers are not properly hydrated. These findings are concerning, as dehydration not only causes headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and irritability. It can also lead to constipation, urinary tract infections, and kidney stones. In severe cases, dehydration can even be life-threatening.

So, why aren’t children drinking enough water? Children are not drinking enough water for several reasons. One of the main factors is screen time; children who spend more time in front of screens are less likely to drink enough water. A recent study published in JAMA Paediatrics’ found that children who spent more time on electronic devices had lower hydration levels than those who didn’t. This is because they are often distracted and forget to drink, or they simply choose sugary drinks instead. Some children simply forget to drink water throughout the day, while others just don’t like the taste of water and choose sugary drinks over water, which can lead to dehydration and other negative health outcomes. Some children are too busy playing to remember to drink, a lack of access to water sources can also be a major contribute factor to low water intake.

Now you know drinking water is essential for children’s health and development. Encouraging children to drink more water can be challenging, but there are some simple strategies to make water more appealing and accessible. By incorporating these strategies into daily routines, you can help children maintain proper hydration and support their overall health and well-being.

10 Easy Ways to Get Kids to Drink More Water:

  1. Make it fun! Add fruit slices or herbs like mint to water to give it a burst of flavour.
  2. Use a fun water bottle or cup with their favourite characters or colours or use fun straws in cups.
  3. Set reminders throughout the day to encourage them to drink water. 
  4. Encourage them to drink water before and after meals.
  5. Lead by example and drink water yourself! 
  6. Encourage water breaks during playtime or screen time.
  7. Use a water tracking app or chart to help kids keep track of how much they’re drinking.
  8. Make water easily accessible by keeping a pitcher of water in the fridge or filling a water bottle for kids to take with them on-the-go.
  9. Set goals and rewards for drinking enough water each day, such as a special treat or outing.
  10. Offer water-based snacks such as watermelon, pineapple or raspberries to help increase water intake.

By understanding the importance of water and taking steps to encourage children to drink more, you can help children stay hydrated and healthy. Remember, thirst for knowledge is nothing compared to thirst for water. Stay hydrated!

Do you want to learn more ways of keepng your child healthy and active? Checkout our online tots 2 teen fitness and nutrition courses. 

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