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Keep hydrated

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Our bodies are 50-75% water.

Water lost each day through breathing, sweating and going to the toilet needs to be replaced, especially in hot weather. Not drinking enough fluid can quickly lead to dehydration. When children become dehydrated they can find it more difficult to concentrate, develop headaches, and become irritable. Not drinking enough water can also cause constipation.

Children who bring a water bottle into the classroom, and are reminded to drink, will drink more each day. Drinking water often, especially before, during and after physical activity, is the best way to stay hydrated.

How much should kids drink?

4-8 year olds 1.2L or 5 cups
9-13 year olds 1.5L or 5-6 cups
14-18 year olds 1.8L or 6-8 cups

More water is needed if children are exercising or sweating due to heat.

What colour is my wee?

One way to encourage children to drink enough water is to teach them to check the colour of their wee to see how hydrated they are. When you drink enough water, your urine should be a pale ‘straw’ yellow colour.

Tips to increase water intake

Here are some ways to encourage children to drink more water:

  • Send in a clean bottle filled with water to school each day with children.
  • Always bring a water bottle with you when you go out.
  • Keep a jug of water in the fridge. Try floating slices of lemon or orange, mint or strawberries in the jug to make it more appealing.
  • Regularly remind children to drink water when participating in sporting activities.
  • Serve water icy cold or freeze water bottles to send to school
  • Be a role model - make sure your kids see you regularly drinking water.

Other drinks

Drinks containing caffeine, such as energy drinks and coffee, are not appropriate for children. Cordial, fruit juice, energy drinks, sports drinks, and soft drink are high in sugar and bad for teeth.

Sports drinks are often thought to provide better hydration than water and be a good choice for sport. While sports drinks can be beneficial for some people participating in endurance activities like marathon running, for most children involved in routine physical activity sports drinks are unnecessary. Water or reduced fat milk are the best drink choices for children.