Three Creative Ways to Keep Your Kids Hydrated This Summer

One of the best things about summer on the South Shore is being able to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. After all, this is the time of year we daydream about when it’s snowing in January!

Encouraging your kids to get out and get active during the summer months is a great way for them to take full advantage of everything the season has to offer. However, the summer also brings with it the hottest temperatures of the year, putting kids at risk for dehydration.

Dehydration occurs when the human body simply doesn’t have enough fluids in the system. While all humans lose fluids naturally, we’re usually able to replenish those fluids through the food and drink we consume on a regular basis. During warmer weather, however, the body may lose more fluids than normal, meaning additional fluids must be consumed to close the gap.

Kids are particularly susceptible to the dangers of dehydration. Parents know to pay close attention to a child’s hydration level while he or she is engaged in rigorous activity, like playing a summer sport.

However, it’s important to keep hydration in mind during regular summer activities as well, as building sandcastles at the beach or playing on a swing set can be more exhaustive than they appear.

We all know it can be difficult to get your child to put summer fun on hold for a water break, but getting those fluids is important. Sometimes, a little creativity goes a long way. Here are 3 ways to ensure that your child gets the necessary amount of fluids this summer:

1. Add some flavor to water with a fruit or vegetable infusion.

Four glasses of water infused with fruit and vegetables, including strawberries, citrus and cucumber

All parents have heard it at one point or another: “I don’t want water, water is boring!”

Getting a picky eater or drinker to add something “boring” into the mix is never going to be easy. However, instead of swapping in something less boring, like sodas or sports drinks, consider making water a little more exciting with a fruit or vegetable infusion.

Infusing water with fruits or vegetables does two things at once: it adds natural flavor and makes the water more fun for kids by mixing a variety of colors and shapes.

Start with fruits or vegetables that you know your child likes to eat, as the flavors will be familiar. You can even make it into an activity: encourage your child to help add the fruits or vegetables to the water and stir it up.

As far as flavors go, citrus-infused water is always a popular choice in the summer. If your child is a bit more adventurous, cucumber or mint can add a lot of flavor as well. Other options include strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, and melon.

If you're looking for ideas, check out Baby Foode's delicious infused water recipes.

2. Personalize their cups or bottles.

Sometimes, getting kids to drink more water is as simple as giving them something to call their own. Rather than using disposable plastic bottles or plain cups, consider getting your child a reusable bottle — his or her own “special” bottle.

Your child can then decorate the bottle to make it even more special! Add a name, stickers, glitter, and more. It can become as much of a craft project as a water bottle, and allowing kids to make the bottle their own can go a long way toward helping them remember to use it.

If your bottle uses a straw instead of a twist-top or other opening, get some twisted or shaped “silly straws” for an additional bit of fun.

3. Make homemade ice pops to cool off and get fluids.

a bowl of fruit and a collection of colorful ice pops featuring blueberries, strawberries and other fruits

There are few things better than a nice, cold treat on a summer day. While the treats that the ice cream man brings around may not be the healthiest options, there are ways you can satisfy a craving for a treat while also helping your child stay hydrated: homemade ice pops!

The key to homemade ice pops is to make them with the right ingredients. Rather than using sugary drinks, opt for blended fruit or sugar-free fruit juices.

Once you’ve selected your ingredients, simply add your liquid mixture to an ice mold and put the molds in the freezer. After a few hours, your ice pops will be ready!

Along with being a tasty treat for your kids to enjoy, homemade ice pops are a healthier alternative to other sugar-laden summer specialties. Ice pops are also a great way for kids to get additional liquids from the fruit or the juice used in your mixture, helping to keep dehydration at bay.

The website What Moms Love has a great list of healthy ice pop recipes that include no refined sugars or artificial colors.