Inside: Did you know that a child’s body is made up of 75% water? Water is essential to life and kids need plenty of water in order to feel good, focus, concentrate and think. Water will also give your children the necessary energy and brain power to help them learn easier and better. Here are 10 amazing benefits of drinking water and why kids (and adults) need plenty of water every day to stay happy and healthy!
This blog is a synopsis of my Tidbits of Wisdom for Parents series. To access the 5-minute YouTube video, “Amazing Benefits of Water and How it Makes Kids Smarter,” click here.
Benefits of Drinking Water
Water is essential. And everyone, including your children, needs to drink plenty of this life-giving substance every day. Did you know that people can go for up to three weeks without food? Water is a different story. Survival rates connected to water? Only a few days. Water is necessary for life!
Seventy-five percent of your child’s body is made up of water. As an adult, it’s 70%. And interestingly, our earth is also 70% water. Your children lose water every day through sweat and urine and need to replenish what is lost. And fever, vomiting or diarrhea will also cause your child to lose water. Even if your child doesn’t feel thirsty, it doesn’t mean his/her body doesn’t need water. Check out the water recommendations below. And notice on this infographic how much water is contained in all of our vital organs.
How Much Daily Water Intake?
There are recommendations for water intake according to age. But these are only recommendations. Other factors should be considered—are your kids involved in sports? Is the weather hot, dry or humid? If so, your child (and you) will need more water. Don’t wait until your child is thirsty—by that time his body is already dehydrated.
Recommended for daily water intake:
Children Ages 5-8: Five (8oz/ea.) glasses of water each day or 40 ounces
Ages 9-12: Seven (8oz/ea.) glasses of water daily or at least 56 ounces
Ages 13+: Eight to ten (8 oz./ea.) glasses of water or at least 80 ounces
More Benefits of Drinking Water: 10 Reasons Kids Need to Drink Water
Here are 10 important reasons for you and your kids to drink plenty of water every single day:
#1 Water Eliminates Dehydration
Dehydration means that your body doesn’t have enough water to function properly. Seventy-five percent of people (including children) are chronically dehydrated.
Even mild dehydration will
- slow down your child’s metabolism as much as 3% and cause fatigue
- cause your child to feel grumpy or tired
- give your child headaches
The human body has no stored water to draw on during dehydration so it’s vitally important that your child drinks water throughout the day.
Dehydration can happen very quickly—keep water with you in the car for thirsty kids. If they play sports or are involved in strenuous extra-curricular activities, send them with plenty of water in their backpacks or sports packs.
If your children come home from school grumpy or tired—give them a glass of water. I personally prefer room-temperature water for younger kids. Sometimes a very cold glass of water can trigger a headache particularly when they are already tired or experiencing mild dehydration.
#2 Water Helps Kids Suffering from Asthma and Allergies
Your children need water for their cells to grow. As they grow, 75% of the cell volume must be filled with water. This is one reason why children develop asthma and allergies during the growth stage of their physical development–they don’t have enough water for their body systems to function. Some research indicates that asthma can be caused by chronic dehydration and by increasing water and adding a bit of salt to the tongue, asthma coughing disappears.
Kids are also susceptible to allergies if they increase their food intake but not their water intake.
If you have a child who suffers from asthma or allergies, water obviously will help. Kids with allergies should drink a glass of water BEFORE eating food. And kids with asthma need to drink more water. They also need to stop drinking sodas containing caffeine and reduce their orange juice consumption which can trigger an allergic reaction in some children.
#3 Water Lessens Hunger Pains
In a University of Washington study, it was discovered that dieters who drink one glass of water before bed will shut down late-night hunger pains by almost 100%! Drinking water helps separate the feelings of thirst and hunger. Thirty-seven percent of American suffer from a very weak thirst mechanism. In fact, it is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger. Many kids and parents who feel hungry are really in need of water.
Does your child get up at night complaining of hunger or thirst? If so, either give him/her a glass of water an hour before bedtime or even 30 minutes before bed. If they get up feeling hungry or thirsty—give them another glass of water. You’re probably thinking, “they are going to be up all night going to the bathroom.” Possibly, but if your child’s body is in need of water, the water they drink will be used to replenish their organs and cells.
#4 Water Reduces Fatigue and Helps Kids Learn
When your kids are thirsty, they get tired very easily. In fact, studies show that not replenishing the body with water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue. According to F. Batmanghelidj, MD, water is the main source of energy and is called the “cash flow” of the body.
Recently one of my friends on Facebook was complaining about the principal at her children’s school. The kids were not being allowed to drink any water until lunch time and after that, they had to wait until they were ready to go home to have more water. This rule was probably given to eliminate kids from leaving class and going to the bathroom. However, it’s a bad idea!
Kids in school need water to help:
- Keep their brains alive and working
- Water gives a child electrical energy for brain functions, particularly thinking.
- It is needed for sustained focus energy
- Water can also help prevent attention deficit disorder in children (and adults). In fact, kids who drink plenty of water, their attention spans actually increase.
- Water integrates mind and body functions. It helps kids and teens with the desire to make goals and have a purpose. Hard to believe that water can do this–but research indicates it can and does.
When teaching college, I made it a rule–all students were expected to bring water with them to class and sip it throughout the three hours they were there.
It’s important to understand the different ways kids learn—and it starts with hydrating a child’s system with water.
Send bottled water with your children to school. Let their teachers know exactly why you are doing this. If they don’t understand, encourage them to read the research connecting water to learning.
#5 Drink Water to Ease Growing Pains & Back and Joint Pains
Back, joint and muscle pain are not relegated to the aging. It can also happen to your kids. Growing pains are common among children. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day can significantly ease back, joint and muscle pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
If your kids are experiencing growing pains, give them plenty of water throughout the day and a glass of water about one hour prior to them going to bed (so they can empty their bladder before they nod off). It should help.
#6 Drinking Water Helps With Short-term Memory
Did you know that a mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory? It can also cause kids to have problems understanding basic math, and have difficulty focusing on a computer screen or printed page in a book. Drinking water every day can help prevent memory loss well into old age.
Before starting their homework, make certain your kids have had a big glass of water to drink. And as I said above, send them to school with a bottle of water or thermos of water. It’s necessary for their memories and learning.
#7 Water Decreases the Risk of Certain Cancers
Drinking water can help ward off certain cancers. For instance:
- Drinking 5 glasses of water daily help to decrease the risk of colon cancer by 45%
- Drinking 5 glasses of water each day can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%
- When a person drinks at least 5 glasses of water a day, they are 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer
Water also helps to normalize the blood-manufacturing system in the bone marrow which helps prevent childhood leukemia and lymphoma.
Although some of these forms of cancer are not cancers common in children, it’s a good idea to get your kids in the habit of drinking plenty of water every day. It just may help prevent certain cancers when they are adults because water keeps the immune system working at peak performance and can fight infections and cancer cells where they are formed.
#8 Sip or Guzzle?
If your child sips water throughout the day, they will keep their systems hydrated and their abilities to learn and function will substantially increase. If they guzzle water (drinking it very rapidly) they will cleanse their systems. Both are helpful for their bodies and minds.
Either sipping or guzzling water is good for your child’s health. I would suggest that they sip water throughout the day to keep their minds in tip-top shape. If they need to cleanse their system—guzzle it.
#9 Drinking Soda, Juice or Milk Doesn’t Count Toward Water Intake
Many parents think that as long as their child is getting some form of liquid (milk, juice, soda) in their systems, they will be hydrated. This is partially correct. However, sodas and juices are loaded with sugar and sugar drains water from the colon and can cause constipation and/or diarrhea. Plus, the sodium in sodas increases dehydration. Kids don’t need excess salt or sugar in their diets. It impedes their ability to learn. They need water.
Make water your family’s #1 beverage choice. You’ll be glad you did. You will notice your children having sustained, focused energy; their brains will work better and more efficiently which all translates into a healthier more positive learning experience.
#10 Drinking Water Helps Clear Teen Skin
When your kids get to be teens, they will be concerned about their skin. Having healthy, acne-free skin is important for teens and their self-esteem. There are many reasons for teen acne, but several things that can help is drinking plenty of water, giving up sodas and eating plenty of fruits and veggies. Fruits and veggies are loaded with water and will help clean out the cells.
Drinking water every day will help improve your teen’s skin by:
- eliminating toxins from the body
- flushing out the system
- hydrating the skin
- making the skin smoother
- decreasing the effects of aging
Encourage your teen to drink plenty of water every day. It definitely helps teens with problem skin. I know from my own personal experience and with my teen sons. The more water we drank, the more healthy and blemish-free skin we had.
Last, here are some of my favorite books about water for your family. When I was studying towards my three nutrition certifications, one of the required reading books was–You’re Not Sick You’re Thirsty. It’s an excellent book filled with documented research on the importance of drinking water. Become further enlightened by this amazing life-giving substance!
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