HEALTHY LIVING  | 8.27.19  |  by Julie Rhodins

Most parents think about keeping their family hydrated during the summer months. But as you send your children back to school, it’s just as important that your kids stay hydrated. Back-to-school hydration is an often-missed component to staying healthy and hydrated. Here are a few tips to keep your kids hydrated.

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Brain Function Is Higher With Hydration

45-75 percent of our body weight is water. And 75 percent of our brain is water. The National Institutes of Health did a study and found out that just a 1-2 percent reduction in body water loss causes cognitive impairment.

What does this mean for school? According to studies from the Universities of East London and Westminster in the U.K., students who drank water before tests had better grades. Also, the hydration seemed to reduce anxiety. All good!

Hydration Benefits Overall Health

According to the American Heart Association

Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles. And, it helps the muscles work efficiently. Dehydration can be a serious condition that can lead to problems ranging from swollen feet or a headache to life-threatening illnesses such as heat stroke.

Special Care With Sports

If your child is involved in sports activities, you’ll want to make sure an extra water bottle is sent. Additionally, the sports practice area should have ample opportunity for water breaks and water refills.

Teachers and coaches should be trained in keeping kids hydrated. Ask your child’s school what are the school’s hydration guidelines for physical education classes and after-school activities. Some schools limit outside activities if the heat index is too high.

How-To’s: Send Your Child With a Water Bottle

For elementary age children, you’ll probably want to ask the teacher if the child can have a water bottle nearby or how often there are breaks to take a drink. This is less of an issue for middle school and high school because more autonomy and breaks in between classes offer many opportunities to take a drink.

Also, ask about bathroom privileges. If you’re drinking more water, you’ll need to go to the bathroom more often. Encourage your child’s school to not penalize for bathroom breaks.

Many middle and high school classrooms frown on those bathroom hall passes, so you might need to help your teenager map out the school and find the bathrooms for a quick easy in and out in between classes. Some schools have taken bathrooms and made them faculty only, which reduces bathroom access during class changes. Talk with your school if bathroom access is hard to find because of this reduction in availability. You wouldn’t want your teenager to stop drinking water because there isn’t a bathroom nearby.

Additionally, make sure the water bottle gets washed each day. It’s easy to forget to do this when the water bottle is often hidden away in a backpack. But sometimes it helps to have at least two water bottles for each child so that the habit is to pull out a clean water bottle each day.

Other Ways to Get in the Hydration

Sending your child with fruits and vegetables as snacks or as part of a packed lunch, along with no-added sugar beverages (like milk, vegetable and fruit juices), can also add to getting enough water.

Children need between 6-8 cups a day of water to stay hydrated. More if they are involved in sports.