When I take my kids to school each morning I tell them the usual mom things…
Have a good day.
Follow the rules.
Be a good friend.
Lately I’ve had to add a new morning phrase to that routine: Drink your water.
See, my son drinks water constantly. He always brings the bottle that sits on his desk during the day home empty. I don’t usually have to worry about his water intake because he always just makes sure to drink.
My daughter, however, is never thirsty. I’m always having to convince her to drink more; not just water but any other liquid. Some days she comes home from school with what looks like the exact amount of water I sent her with.
But there is a problem with that habit of hers.
Not drinking enough water can be one of the most overlooked reason kids can’t concentrate.
Dehydration can cause:
- Reduced mental performance
- Lack of concentration
Since the brain is made up of 75% water, that isn’t too surprising. And because kids aren’t able to recognize the signs of dehydration, it’s usually overlooked.
When our kids (and us grown-ups, too) don’t get enough water they can often become irritable and moody.
In this study, Dr. Caroline Edmonds from The University of East London, found that drinking water can improve children’s visual attention and fine motor skills.
In fact, once they get to school, 71% of students do not drink enough water to maintain the hydration level they had when they arrived. And 60% show up dehydrated to begin with.
How much water should kids be drinking?
It depends on the child’s age and their activity level. According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, the recommendation is:
👍 Boys & Girls Age 4-8 = 5 cups a day
👍 Girls age 9-13 = 7 cups a day
👍 Boys age 9-13 = 8 cups a day
👍 Girls age 14-18 = 8 cups a day
👍 Boys age 14-18 = 11 cups a day
How do we get kids to drink more water while they’re at school?
For starters, each school should offer parents to send their kids with a water bottle that will sit on their desk during the day. Having the water right next to you and not having to ask for it or get up from their desk will encourage them to drink more.
Second, teachers should remind kids to take water breaks. Even maybe make a class activity to decorate water bottles.
Last, give them lunch box options that will encourage them to drink like a 100% juice box. Also add fruits and veggies that are high in water content like oranges, cucumbers, watermelons and strawberries.
However you get your child to drink the correct amount of water each day, make sure they get it. You never know how it can be effecting them.
Liz is a just a mom trying to keep it real about how little she sleeps, how often she gets puked on and how much she loves them. You can find her here every day writing about real-mom moments.