If Baby had it their way, cookies and ice cream would probably contain the essential nutrients for human survival, but in reality, one of the things they really need every day is to drink enough water.
Getting toddlers to drink water can be a bit of a challenge. Some prefer only milk, while others won’t hear of any drink that isn’t juice. While there is no harm in keeping other beverages in the rotation (within healthy limits), it’s important to make sure that no other drink is getting in the way of their H20 intake.
Why is water so important?
The human body relies on water to function. Not getting enough water can lead to changes in mood, dehydration, and decreased activity.
How will I know if my toddler is dehydrated?
- Physical appearance: A toddler who is dehydrated will begin to show physical symptoms, including sunken eyes, or a dry mouth. Over time, the skin may become flaky. If a toddler is not looking nourished, it may be a sign that they need more water.
- Changes in activity: A hydrated tot is active and physical. A toddler who becomes sluggish or fussy, but who doesn’t seem to be ill, may need a little extra hydration.
- Output: Your toddler should be urinating often and without trouble. If urine output decreases, or if you notice the color is a dark yellow rather than clear, it’s time to increase water intake. Similarly, dehydration can lead to constipation, so decreased bowel movements are another sign of a need for more water.
Tips for increasing water intake
On average, toddlers need somewhere around five cups of water each day. In order to meet that goal, be sure water is always on-hand and accessible to your toddler. If you struggle with getting them to drink plain water, you can try adding a small splash of fruit juice to give it a bit of flavor, or even entice them with some ice in the sippy cup. Milk counts toward their fluid intake, too, but may get in the way of their appetite. Stick with straight H20 when possible, and remember, fruits and vegetables are loaded with water, too. Happy hydrating!
- Mary Mullen. “Water: How Much Do Kids Need?” eat right. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, May 2 2017. Retrieved September 14 2017. http://www.eatright.org/resource/fitness/sports-and-performance/hydrate-right/water-go-with-the-flow.
- Patricia Solo-Josephson. “Dehydration.” KidsHealth. The Nemours Foundation, June 2017. Retrieved September 14 2017.