Water Bottoms up, Honey Pie!

‘We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.’ The quote can aptly be modified in the current context to say, ‘We never know the worth of water till our body runs dry.’

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While we adults slacken on our daily aqua dose, we forget to prod and urge our children too to keep sipping this finest-yet-free drink to keep themselves hydrated and generally healthy. Kids being kids, will often be so immersed in the activity of the moment, that they’re unlikely to realize that they’re thirsty and hence, need to pause to refill their ‘water tanks’. We as parents need to instill this habit in them, as habits get established very early in childhood.


Most of us have a low water intake and drink it only when we’re thirsty. This is a sign that we have already reached the dehydration mark. It is even more important for the children to be well hydrated because:

Dehydration can act as a killjoy for your child’s mental performance and cognitive abilities. Water makes up almost 80 per cent of the brain and children need to think clearly to be able to tackle academic pressure well. In the absence of sufficient fluids in the body, a child can experience irritability, blurred memory and lack of concentration, affecting her academic performance.

Since kids exercise/play substantially more than adults, inadequate hydration can cause muscle fatigue, leading to reduced brain and body coordination. This can cause light-headedness followed by a fainting spell.

Children’s bodies are much less heat-tolerant and therefore, they’re likely to get a heat stroke faster than adults.

Most of us have a low water intake and drink it only when we’re thirsty. This is a sign that we have already reached the dehydration mark. It is even more important for the children to be well hydrated because:


How much is enough?


The amount of water or other water-based fluids that a child needs depends on many factors such as age, gender, metabolism, physical activity, environment and weather. However, there is a minimum recommendation of drinking water for kids too.

The approximate recommended daily amount of fluids is:


1–3 years: 5 cups (1 litre)


4–8 years: 6–7 cups (1.3 litres)


9–13 years: 8–10 cups (1.6–2.4 litres)9–13 years: 8–10 cups (1.6–2.4 litres)


14 years and above: 10–13cups (2.5–3 litres or more)

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Pointers to prevent dehydration


Here are a few tips to block out dehydration from your little moppet’s life:


Always pack a water bottle along when your child is going to school or for a day trip.


Offer an extra water bottle to your child if he is going to play an outdoor sport or any other physical activity. Insist on his drinking water before the start of the activity, during the activity at regular intervals and after the activity to replenish the fluids lost through sweat.


In hot and humid weather, put a frozen ice pop maker in the water bottle of your child to help her quench her thirst effectively.


At home, offer your child water every hour or so during hot weather. Even a few sips will go a long way in ensuring that she is well hydrated through the day.


If plain water is boring and humdrum for your child, make the water-drinking ritual a tad bit exciting by adding fun flavours to it such as a dash of lemon juice, orange slices, watermelon cubes, freshly cut cucumbers, or a sprig of mint.


Drink water regularly in the presence of your child so that they mimic you till it becomes a habit with them. Leading by example is an effective way of getting your kids to do what you want them to.


By now, it should be crystal clear to all you parents that you can’t rely on your children to come up to you every time and say, ‘Mom/Dad, give me water. I am really thirsty.’ Just like you plan your child’s food each day, drinking water should also be a part of your child’s planned daily diet. So, go get them drunk on the finest beverage up for grabs. It won’t hurt your pocket and won’t give them the dreaded hangover. Can it get any better?


This is an extract from chapter 6 ‘That Divine Cooler’ from my book- “Parenting in the age of McDonald’s” which is available online.