In hot weather, one of the most common worries I hear from parents is how to keep a baby or toddler hydrated. I have written a post on water for babies which tells you exactly what water, how much and when. But what if, despite all your best efforts, your little one just doesn’t seem to be drinking enough fluids in this heat? In this article, I’ll run through some tips for how to keep your child hydrated.
Give foods that keep your child hydrated
Did you know that children can actually get some good hydration from foods as well as fluids? I find that remembering this can often really reassure parents, especially during heatwaves when it can be a particular worry.
In general, drinks tend to account for about 80% of our fluid intake, whether we are parents or children. The other 20% comes from food. Fruits, vegetables and milk are all good food sources of water and so a diet rich in these can contribute to a higher overall fluid intake, whatever our age. The graphic below shows some of the top foods for offering hydration:
The great thing about these foods is that not only are they child-friendly but most of them are no-cook, too – and let’s face it, nobody wants to be standing over a hot stove in the heat, particularly whilst also looking after hot and bothered children.
Strawberries, cucumber, tomato, watermelon and celery sticks are all really good portable finger foods. Try packing some of these when you’re out and about to offer to your little one if you feel they’re not sipping enough fluid.
3 hydrating and healthy recipes for kids
- Ice lollies are full of water and certainly needn’t be full of sugar! My healthy ice lolly recipes are all perfect for keeping little ones cool and hydrated – and they’re easy and super delicious, too.
- A watermelon and strawberry smoothie is ideal to prepare in a batch, super tasty and great for a hydrating snack. It’s lovely and colourful for kids, too. You can freeze this mixture ￼to ring the changes and then offer it to your little ones as either a healthier slushie or an ice lolly.
- Don’t forget that watermelon can be used in savoury recipes as well. Try adding it to a salad with a little crumbled feta, chopped cucumber and mint, or you could follow or adapt this recipe for watermelon salad. I find that adding sweetness to salads with fruit like this can really make them more appealing to little ones.
Other hydrating foods include soups (serve these cold if need be!), extra milk on cereal and side salads. I posted a round-up of kid-friendly hydrating foods on Instagram recently which you can save to refer back to when you need quick ideas. And, of course, don’t forget to serve water alongside all these super-hydrating foods!
My 5 top tips to encourage your toddler to drink more water
- Mix and match colourful cups and change the lids. You can also add straws in different shapes and sizes or let them pick out a new cup at the shops.
- Freeze ice cubes in different shaped ice cube trays to add interest. You can also freeze berries in ice cubes to both flavour tap water and make it look more appealing.
- Try a water filter or keep tap water chilled in the fridge. Little ones – and adults! – often prefer the taste this way.
- Draw a line with a wipeable marker on your child’s water bottle and ask them if they can drink to the level of the line. You could also mark the goal level with a sticker. Siblings (or parents and children) can challenge each other to see who reaches the line first.
- Don’t forget to be a good role model and get yourself a water bottle that your children see you drink from throughout the day so that it becomes normal. And chat about how in hot weather we all need to drink more especially when we feel ￼thirsty.
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