Now is the time to start shaping the behavior of your children to healthy living. Introducing healthy foods and beverages to children from birth to 5 years of age often shapes the health behaviors that they follow throughout adulthood.
Simple exposure to healthy drink and food choices, including choosing water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages, can help ensure your child is happy and healthy for years to come. Habits are formed easily at early ages—so setting the stage early in life is the best guarantee of continued healthy living for a long time.
Water is one of the most important parts of any child’s diet. It is essential in keeping bowel movements regular and helping to prevent conditions such as urinary tract infections and kidney stones.
Water also allows us to regulate our body temperature. When our bodies heat up—because of a hot day or because of physical activity, for instance—the brain alerts the sweat glands to produce sweat. When children don’t drink enough water, the body cools itself by the evaporation of sweat from the skin. If dehydrated, their bodies can’t sweat enough to stay cool.
Just like adults, kids need plenty of water to carry out daily functions. As a parent, it can be hard to gauge how much water your child needs to stay properly hydrated.
It is often recommended that kids drink the daily amounts of water according to their age: the number of 8-ounce cups of water should be the same as their annual age, up to 8 years old. These amounts do not include other beverages they may consume in a day such as milk and juice.