water kids need

They might be pint-size, but their water needs are not. Kids, experts say, should be just as properly hydrated as adults, if not more so.

“The standard recommendations are for children to get six to eight glasses of water per day,” says Dr. Melina Jampolis, CNNHealth’s Diet and Fitness expert. “Mild dehydration can affect learning as well as mental and physical performance.”

Underscoring Jampolis’ assertion is a recent report out of Tufts University which found that children who are even mildly thirsty can become cranky. For school-age children, dehydration—even at low levels—can impair cognitive function, says lead reseacher Kristen D’Anci, Ph.D.

Realistically, however, parents know how difficult it is to get kids to drink any water, never mind enough. To that end, the following tips may help concerned parents find ways to help their children guzzle more of what’s good for them:

•    Make water available. Place a pitcher of water in the refrigerator (studies show that kids are more likely to drink cold water than room temperature), have water bottles out, ready to be filled, or have bottles handy. That way, there’s no excuses. You may also want to consider offering water that has mildly alkaline properties. Ionized water has smaller molecule clusters that are able to permeate a body’s cells faster, while hydrating more fully and effectively. In turn, this allows little bodies to absorb water and minerals better, and flush out toxins.

•    Take it to go. Kids model what they see, so whenever you and your wee ones are on the go, make sure you take water for yourself and your child. If you’re taking sips of water throughout the day, chances are, they will too. And don’t stop at car rides, take water to the park, family picnics and other excursions.

•    Serve water-rich foods. When all else fails, serve good-for-you, water-infused foods, such as soup, fruit and milk, which can be made up of 80 to 90 percent water. Watermelon, for instance, is usually a kid-friendly favorite and a great water-logged fruit.

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