Kids Health 101: The Truth About Water Intake

Photo by Angele Sionna

Water is important for every living thing... and kids today, generally, need to drink more. How much do they need? How do you get children to want water instead of soda, juice or chocolate milk?

Dr. Maoshing Ni (Dr. Mao), author of several best-selling health books including Secrets of Longevity, says "Water keeps our internal systems running properly, which is particularly important for kids because their bodies are still growing."

"Drinking water also helps kids perform better in school. Without enough water, kids can become dehydrated, which can lead to headaches, irritability, lack of concentration and sleepiness - all of which impact a child's mental and physical performance at school," says Dr. Mao.

How Much Water do Kids Need to Drink Everyday?

"Kids need to drink as much or more water than adults do because they're growing and at greater risk of dehydration. Kids should drink at least eight to 10 glasses of water per day," says Dr Mao.

How do You Get Your Children to Drink More Water?

Getting kids to drink water starts at an early age. Don't just offer juice or milk to babies. In fact, my pediatrician recommends skipping juice altogether before the age one and only offer water, formula or breast milk.

After one, offer a glass of water mixed with 100% pure juice with no sugars added. I usually do 50/50 with apple juice and 75% water, 25% juice with grape and orange juice. Or just add a splash of juice to the water.

In addition, fill big pitchers of water with thinly slice oranges, lemons, cucumbers, even fresh mint, and put it in the refrigerator. The flavors slightly infuse the water for a refreshing taste.

Another great way to up your household's water intake is to make herbal teas. In many cases these taste sweet, naturally, so kids enjoy them.

Also, make rules for the whole family.  For example, water is the only beverage allowed in bedrooms and  only water after dinner.

Filter or Not to Filter?

Dr. Mao recommends filtering tap water because of the chemicals in much of the nation's water supply. You can find out what's in your water by requesting a free report from the EPA.

Dr. Mao, who is working with Aquasana, suggests using their filters because, "they remove 99 percent of the chlorine, lead, pesticides and other toxins in tap water while leaving in the calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron. This is important because those minerals are vital for a child's growth and development. Installing a water filter at home is one of the easiest, most cost-effective and beneficial things they can do for their family. We even use filtered water to feed our pets and water our plants."

Dr. Mao also states, "Studies show that even the best tap water has toxins in it that give water a chemical aftertaste and present short- and long-term health risks. That is actually the reason why the President's Cancer Panel came out with a recommendation in May that American families install water filters in their homes. In fact, if your child has asthma or a chronic skin condition, you may find that having your child shower or bathe in filtered water will help."


Early Childhood Parenting Examiner Angele Sionna has been a professional journalist for over a decade. She enjoys writing about family activities, travel, food and, of course, anything to do with her three beautiful children: Ava, Ellerie and Callum. Email your ideas & questions to Angele at parentingexaminer@gmail.com.

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