We all know how important staying hydrated is during the summer. But what about when it's cold? We often forget to drink water when the weather cools down, which can lead to dry skin and hair. But further, dehydration can also cause chapped lips, nosebleeds, and dry coughs. Further, dry sinuses can crack (just like chapped lips), making them vulnerable to infection. So keeping our kids hydrated in the winter months is not only important to healthy skin and hair, it's just plain healthy.
Children are smaller, thus having higher turnover water and electrolytes than adults. This is important to keep in mind that even if you're keeping hydrated during the winter, this doesn’t mean that your kids are.
Tips for keeping your children hydrated:
- Model healthy behavior: If you're not taking care of your hydration needs, why should your kids care about their own? They will look to you to see the behavior that you want to see in them. If they see you sipping water all the time they, in turn, will want to as well.
- Water bottles: Get your child his or her own water bottle and teach them to drink before they get thirsty. It should be a habit, something they do without thinking. A reusable bottle that they can decorate and/or claim as their own is always a great way to help encourage kids to drink more water.
- Warm liquids: Can't get your children (or yourself) to drink water? Try warm liquids like herbal teas. It will keep them toasty but will also keep them hydrated. Avoid caffeinated beverages as they are diuretics and can cause fluid loss.
- Dress appropriately: It's obvious that we want to keep our kids warm during the winter. But don't go overboard. Dressing in too many clothes can cause your kids to sweat out what fluids they're taking in, which would be counter-productive. Dress them warmly, but not too warmly.
- Eat fruits and vegetables: 75%-80% of our water needs come from water, which means that 15%-20% from the foods we eat. Fruits and vegetables with high water content are great ways to "sneak" water into our children, especially fruits like watermelons, oranges, and strawberries and veggies like cucumbers and lettuce.
- Eat hydration-friendly foods: Yogurt is 80% water. Grains like couscous, oatmeal, and pasta absorb water while being cooked, so they’re a great way to sneak in some additional fluid intake. Minimizing salts in sauces and serving with healthy fruits and vegetables are not only nutritious but a great way to help ward off hydration-related illnesses.