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  • Writer's pictureChickadee Contributor

Easy Ways to Help Toddlers Stay Hydrated in the Summer

Photo by quokkabottles on Unsplash

If you want to play all day in the sun and not worry about your toddler getting dehydrated, it’s so important to offer water regularly throughout the day.

Most toddlers are far more interested in playing and just can’t be bothered with drinking water. If you’re getting push-back about drinking water, or it’s just the last thing on their list, here are few ideas to make sure they aren’t getting dehydrated in the summer heat.

Carry Your Water Bottle Everywhere

One of the best ways to get your toddler to do something is to model it for them. No toddler wants to be told what to do—that's a recipe for rebellion. If you bring your water bottle everywhere and drink from it often, they’ll be more likely to go for it too. Some may even only want sips from your water bottle. You can make it a game—I take a sip, you take a sip.

Get Them a New Water Bottle

Toddlers love novelty, so investing in a new water bottle each season can go a long way. Even better, let them pick one out. If you’re at the store, or shopping online, choose an age-appropriate water bottle, but let them decide if they get the one with mermaids or the one with trucks. Watch their excitement about their new water bottle sore!

Add a Straw

Get some fun “crazy” straws for drinking water at mealtimes. Even simple straws will be fun for them if they are in different colors.

Popsicles and Smoothies

Most popsicles, whether store-bought or homemade, are mostly fruit juice. Smoothies often have a fair amount of liquid in them, whether it’s water, juice, or milk. If you have the time to make your own at home, you can control the amount of liquid added, and any other ingredients you may want to monitor.

High-Water Content Fruits and Vegetables

There are a few key foods that can also help kids stay hydrated: watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe are the top. Keep these in heavy rotation for snacks and alongside meals. If your kids have never had any of these before, don’t stress about it if they refuse at first. Keep offering, they may come around.

Hydrating Beverages That Aren’t Water

While drinking water is the number one way to stay hydrated, getting other liquids in may be necessary to keep your toddler’s interest in drinking at all. Milk (dairy or non-dairy milks), fruit juice (especially if it’s diluted with water), and coconut water are great options. Pedialyte or Gatorade are also great options to try if you need to make sure they’re getting hydration and electrolytes.

Warning Signs of Dehydration in Toddlers

Most of the time, toddlers and kids get enough water from eating and drinking to replace the fluids that they naturally lose throughout the day. In some cases—fevers, vomiting, diarrhea, hot weather, too much, vigorous exercise—can cause more fluid loss than can be naturally replenished. This is when can occur dehydration.

If your toddler has any of the above, they are at risk for dehydration. Here are the most common signs and symptoms of dehydration in toddlers.

  • dry, cracked lips

  • dark-colored urine

  • little or no urine for eight hours

  • cold or dry skin

  • excessive sleepiness

  • low energy levels

  • no tears when crying

  • extreme fussiness

Dehydration can come on quickly or develop slowly. Toddlers aren’t yet equipped to communicate any internal strife, so it’s best to closely monitor them when there are dehydration triggers present.

Don’t wait until your toddler is excessively thirsty to supply them with the methods above. If they’re really thirsty, they may already be dehydrated. During warmer weather it’s important to stay on top of these to help combat any dehydration before it occurs.

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