There is no doubt about it, hydration is an important part of having a fun and happy summer. It is easy to get dehydrated in the summer time. Not only is there lots to do, the summer heat can pose a problem and sun stroke can become an issue for many families. Whether your kids are playing in the back yard or your family is on vacation hydration is important and these tips can help.

Eating and Drinking for hydration.
There are a lot of good foods and drinks that can help you keep your kids hydrated. Here is a good start:

  • Water. Water is important for most of the body's functions. Because it is so important it is a good idea to help your kids drink as much water as possible. A few helpful ways to do this can be to keep it cold and to serve it with lemon or lime (or with a splash of lemon or lime juice). For more tips on helping the entire family drink more water check out the article Tips For Drinking More Water.
  • Other Healthy Fluids. Water is important, but it isn't the only fluid that is healthy. You can serve juice or milk to your children as well without guilt. It is a good idea to limit how much juice that your children consume because studies have shown that those who drink a lot of juice are less likely to eat well balanced meals. However one glass of juice and two glasses of milk a day can help meet your kids nutritionrequirements and help them get a little bit of a boost on their fluids.
  • Fluids To Avoid. Many people mistakenly believe that any fluids are better then no fluids. There are a lot of fluids that we enjoy that actually help to dehydrate the body. They cause the body to loose fluids, usually in the form of urine. They include any drink with caffeine in it including soda, coffee, and tea. They also include carbonated beverages including sodas (with or without caffeine) and even carbonated water. Sugar in fluids is also a bad idea and not good for the body. So, if you think that having your kids drink Kool-aid is a good way to keep them hydrated, think again.
  • Ice. Most kids enjoy a wide range of ice products. This can be ice or Popsicles. Make your own with juice and water and enjoy them in the hot of the day.
  • Fruit. Not only is fruit good for you because of all the vitamins and nutrients that it has, it is also full of water. Choose watermelon, honeydew melon, berries, and other juicey fruits to add hydration to the body.
  • Vegetables. There is also a fair amount of water in raw vegetables especially things like cucumbers, tomatoes (I know it is argued that this is a fruit, but by definition so is a cucumber), and lettuces. Serve raw vegetables with or without dip for a variety of options that contain water.
  • Frozen Fruit Pops. Another fun and yummy option is to freeze fruit for a fruit pop. These are fun to suck on, delicious, and they add a lot of water to the body. Things like watermelon,strawberries, and peaches are all good options.
  • Yogurt, Smoothies, and Slushies. Cool treats such as yogurt, smoothies, and slushies can become great ways to cool off and enjoy more healthy fluids. Blend juice, yogurt, ice, and or fruit together for yummy treats that your kids won't want to say no to.

Tips For Getting Them To Drink.
Knowing what to eat and drink for hydration is a great place to start. However, this doesn't guarantee that your kids will stay hydrated. After all, you have to get them to eat and drink! Here are a few tips for getting them to drink.
  1. Get in the habit of drinking water. Often drinking water is about the habit of drinking it. If your kids are used to drinking water then they are more likely to drink it regularly.
  2. Get good water. Offer water that has a good taste. Tap water is good in some locations, but if your water has a bad taste then buy bottled water or reverse osmosis water.
  3. Have it available all the time. Having water with you is the best way to make sure that you and your kids can drink all throughout the day.
  4. Get cool water bottles for each kid. Let your child pick out their own water bottle. If you think it would help to make it even more special then help them decorate them as well. This way they can have water with them all the time and in a bottle they like.
  5. Try to get them to drink before they are thirsty. Thirst is a sign of mild dehydration, it is best if you get your kids to drink water before they are thirsty. Offer drinks at each meal and snack. Also have them drink every 15 to 20 minutes when they are playing hard or outside.
  6. Be a good example. What you drink and how much you drink really does matter. If you drink soda all day, your kids will want to as well. Get in the habit of drinking lots of water yourself. It's good for you!
  7. Play drinking games. Young children can have a lot of fun with drinking games. Have them count their swallows, have them see which one of them can finish first, or have them play while drinking in some other way.
  8. Remind your kids to drink often. Playing hard makes kids forget all sorts of things and drinking is often one of them. Give gentle reminders to help your kids keep hydrated.

Look For Signs of Dehydration.
It is also a good idea to keep an eye out for dehydration. Kids can become dehydrated very quickly. If they are thirsty then they areexperiencing mild dehydration. Additionally , many kids (and adults) mistake thirst cues for hunger and are likely to eat rather then drink. Next if your kids are getting fatigued and shouldn't be or crabby for no reason then it is likely that they are getting dehydrated. Have them sit down in a quite place that is cool (and away from the sun) and have them take a quiet drink break.

Keeping your kids hydrated is a huge part of keeping them healthy. In the warm weather it gets even more important, but starting early and keeping your young ones hydrated will help form habits for a healthy future. Most of us need to drink more water and starting early is the best way to get your kids drinking now and in the future for a healthy lifestyle.