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By Melissa O’Shea, Park Shore Nutritionist

Hydration is always an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but this time of year we especially need to be focused on how hydrated our kids are. And as the temperature outside creeps up, so does your child’s hydration needs. Dehydration can effect their energy levels and overall health so it’s important to make adequate hydration a priority. 

How much do kids need? 

Here are the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • 1-3 years of age: 4 cups (32 ounces/1 Liter)
  • 4-8 years of age: 5 cups (40 ounces/1.2 Liters)
  • 9-13 years of age: 7-8 cups (56-64 ounces/1.7-1.9 Liters)

Keep in mind that on hot summer days when the kids are active outside all day at camp, these needs will increase. The best way to know for sure if your child is adequately hydrated is to check their urine. It should be pale yellow. Signs of dehydration include dry mouth/lips, crankiness, headache, lethargy, dizziness, and dry skin. 

And while water is your best bet when it comes to staying hydrated, milk, juice, homemade ice pops, and water-rich fruits and veggies, such as watermelon, cantaloupe, grapefruit, berries, cucumbers, lettuce, celery, and tomatoes can also help your child meet their fluid needs. 

If your child is struggling to stay hydrated here are some ideas to try:

  • Let them pick out a fun water bottle to bring to camp or decorate one that they have with stickers. A fun straw works, too!
  • Infuse water with cucumber slices and lemon or any fruit/veggie flavors they enjoy.
  • Freeze berries and use them as ice cubes in water. 
  • Write lines on a water bottle (hair ties and rubber bands can work, too) and challenge them to drink past the line. Maybe offer a prize for drinking a certain amount if a reward system works well for your child. 
  • Figure out what temperature of water your child likes best – room temperature vs. iced may encourage them to drink more. 

Stay cool! 

Melissa O’Shea, Park Shore Nutritionist

Melissa O’Shea is a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s Degree in Nutrition Education from Columbia University. She has spent most of her career working in corporate wellness, managing diabetes and weight management programs, presenting lectures, and offering individualized counseling. She has served as National Director of Nutrition for a wellbeing spa and was an adjunct professor at a New York City college. She loves working with families and individuals to help support them meet their health and wellness goals. She believes in keeping things simple and that small, gradual changes will lead to lifelong wellness. Eating healthy can be easy and delicious with the right tools and support! As a long time Park Shore student, camper, and now parent, Melissa is thrilled to be a part of our team to help educate and provide support to the Park Shore community. 

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