As a parent, you want nothing more than for your kids to be happy and healthy. You make sure they get in their fruits and veggies every day (even if that means hiding peas in the mashed potatoes), you try to limit their screen time and help them play outside, and you check over their homework (even if you’re forced to entirely relearn long division in the process). But what about their hydration?
Kids are notorious for loving any drink that is not water. Chocolate milk? Yes, please. Sugary fruit juice? They’ll have two juice boxes. Sips of soda and sports drinks? Those treats are as valuable as the latest Hatchimal.
Far and away, though, water is the best beverage for you to give your child every day. Water helps your child digest their food without any cries of “Moommmmm, my tummy hurts” in the middle of the night. Water also transports nutrients and oxygen to cells, helps regulate body temperature, and maintains electrolyte balance.
So how much water do children need on a daily basis to get the most out of these health benefits?
The answer, as you might expect, depends on a variety of factors: age, weight, gender, outdoor temperature, and activity level, to name a few. For example, girls and boys ages 4-8 need about five cups of water per day, whereas those in the 9-13 age bracket need 7-8 cups per day. Teenage boys, meanwhile, could need up to 11 cups per day, while toddlers should drink their age in 8oz cups (for example, a two year old should drink two 8oz cups of water per day). Of course, consult your doctor’s pediatrician for advice on how much your child specifically should drink.
But if you’re looking for a quick rule of thumb, try to ensure that your child gets at least 6-8 cups of water per day, plus the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables (fruits and vegetables can be ultra-hydrating too, if you didn’t know!).
Of course, if your kid is running around outside on a hot summer’s day, they’ll probably need more water than if they’re chilling indoors. Your best guide is your child’s natural thirst, along with keeping an eye on how often they go to the bathroom (every few hours is ideal).
To make sure that your child is drinking enough water every day, let them choose their own reusable kids water bottle to keep by their side every day. Lots of water bottles for kids these days come with volume markings on the side, so you can easily track how much they’re drinking. Have this water bottle on hand for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and keep it filled in between meal times as well. Finally, make sure you’re setting a good example as well by drinking from your own BPA-free reusable water bottle regularly.
After a few weeks of focusing on hydrating, see if you notice a difference in your child’s mood, energy levels, and overall happiness — you might be surprised!