If the rumours are true, this summer could be another scorching hot one. The majority of us welcome heat, especially after the cold and damp of winter. But like extreme cold, heat can also present dangers, more so for ‘vulnerable groups’ in society. We all know the importance of staying hydrated, but did you know that toddlers and young children can quickly succumb to the effects of heat? And they can succumb faster when they are dehydrated.
So, will any fluid do?On one hand, the answer could be yes but then again, there are always two sides to the coin. On a blistering hot day, and with toddlers refusing to drink, it’s no surprise that we fall back on fizzy drinks, juices and ice lollies. Whilst they offer a modicum of hydration, it is not the full delicious, hydrating hit you get from a glass of water. And herein lies the problem – the advertising and ‘aggressive’ marketing for fizzy pop, ‘healthy’ juices and must-have cordials that we are subjected to as parents and as consumers makes water on its own seem far less appealing. Tasteless by comparison, water is seen as an ingredient in a drink rather than a drink in its own right. Who, after all, would enjoy the plainness of water compared to the sweet nectar of pop or juice?
Start as you mean to go on!If you have toddlers or young children, then the old saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ is the perfect adage; introduce water as the drink of choice from an early age and you may find that you don’t need to battle with prising a can of lemonade out of their hand to replace it with a glass of water. There are other hints and tips too that can help in making sure toddlers and children stick with the hydrating power of water. Try these…
- Lead by example – by keeping yourself hydrated at all times, your children will follow suit. Have a bottle of water with you and let your kids see you drink it.
- Fancy bottles – there are many fancy bottles on the market that make drinking water far more fun. Investing in some of these is a great way of adding a little something exciting to what children can see as boring.
- Water at the table – emulate top 5* restaurants by having a jug of crystal clear tap water on the table! Telling the kids that all the best places serve water is one way of making sure they understand that water is important and
- Lemon or lime…? – adding flavour is not just about adding sugary cordial or diluted juice. Halving a lemon or lime and adding it to the water is one way of adding a hint of flavour – or add both!
- Ice – water can sometimes taste ‘better’ and more refreshing if it is cooled by ice. Ice cube trays come in all shapes, and this can be a fun way of hydrating kids too; after all, there is nothing wrong with sucking on an ice cube on a hot day (especially when it is just frozen water!).