It may seem obvious and it may seem simple – but it’s just so important that it’s worth being said… Drinking enough water is vital to your health and wellbeing. As adults, we can moderate this for ourselves – we often notice if we are becoming dehydrated, we pick up on the signs. We can keep track of how many glasses of water we have each day and we can make sure it’s enough. But for children – it’s up to us to ensure that they’re getting plenty of nature’s best drink.
The importance of water consumption has been incorporated into the GrowFit Preschool Fitness Program, with children learning the following fun rhyme as part of a lesson that focuses specifically on drinking water:
“Water, water, drink it down!
5 cups a day keeps me good all round
Whether the weather is cold or hot
Water is important so drink it on the spot!”
How much water do children need?
Children need at least 5-8 cups of water per day – potentially more depending on the weather or their level of physical activity. It’s important that they learn that water is always the best option when they’re thirsty, regardless of how enticing the bright pink soft drink or the green cordial that they spot in the supermarket might look.
Take a look at the following link for more information about the correct consumption of water for children: Livestrong.com water article
Why is water best?
When it comes to quenching your thirst – water is the only drink that can do that for you without adding on any of those extra kilojoules that come with drinking fizzy drinks or cordial. Not only that – its available right there in your kitchen – all you need to do is turn on your tap!
Giving children sweetened drinks can put them at risk of becoming overweight. It can also contribute to tooth decay. On the other hand tap water has the added bonus of fluoride to help protect against tooth decay.
Something else to note is that “We often don’t feel thirsty even when we’re dehydrated, so it’s a good idea to drink water regularly even if you aren’t thirsty.” – HealthyKids.nsw.gov.au.
The Healthy Kids website offers more advice about why water is the best option for your children at the following link: HealthyKids – Why Water?
The next best option?
Another great option when you’re thirsty is milk. Milk contains plenty of nutrients and of course, thanks to all that protein, calcium and magnesium in milk, it contributes to our healthy teeth and bones.
When it comes to juice, The Healthy Kids website suggests choosing whole fruits over fruit juice, explaining that “A small glass of apple juice needs the juice from three medium sized apples. It is much better to encourage a child to eat the fruit rather then drink the juice. A child will benefit from the fibre and nutrients in the flesh of the fruit and feel much fuller for longer” – Healthy Kids Association.
For some fantastic tips to get both you and your children drinking more water, visit the following link: Choose Water! One great idea they mention is to add fresh lemon or mint leaves to a jug of water in order to make it more enticing.
In the end though, just remember – when you’re thirsty, grab a cup and reach for the tap first!
– Mike Searson