My child does not drink enough…

Martine Bernier

Health journalist, editor-in-chief

August 13, 2021

The observation is general: school-age children tend not to hydrate enough. The morning juice, bowl of milk or chocolate is not enough, knowing that they will often not drink again before noon.

A child who doesn’t drink enough may see his physical and intellectual performance decline. Attention deficit, memorization, and therefore learning: the consequences are heavy. Not to mention the repercussions on health. Once an adult, he or she may be confronted with the appearance of kidney stones. In the immediate future, dehydration can lead to dry mouth, insomnia, fatigue, muscle weakness, headaches and many other symptoms to be taken seriously.

The solution? First of all, it consists in getting children used to drinking water, the ideal non-caloric drink, from a very young age. At school, it is the teachers who take over from the parents and who should suggest that the students drink a glass of water before going to class. It is very rare for a child to feel thirsty by himself, as he is too busy having fun. It is therefore important that adults remind them to hydrate regularly.

To do this properly, a child should drink about 1.1 liters between the ages of 4 and 8, and 1.5 liters per day between the ages of 9 and 13, including all beverages, but not including the water in fruit and food. To do this, children should be encouraged to drink at every meal, at snack time and at recess. At home, give your child a bottle or glass of water regularly to get them into the habit of drinking. When they go to school, pack a small bottle of water in their school bag with their break time snack. And at night, put a glass of water on his nightstand. When your child is old enough to understand the need to drink regularly, explain why it’s necessary. Agree on a minimum amount to drink before noon, and another for the afternoon. And don’t hesitate to reward him to encourage him to get into the habit. If he has trouble drinking, try offering to drink through a straw. If he has a block to water, offer him a slice of lemon to flavor it, or a light tea with mint or fruit.

Remember, there’s no better way to teach your little one about the importance of hydration than by example. If he sees you with a water bottle at all times of the day, he’ll want to follow your lead. Give him a water bottle that he can fill himself. And explain to him the composition of the human body: more than 60% of water for an adult and more than 70% for a child. This percentage is vital and… standing in the rain is not enough to maintain it! He must actively collaborate!

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