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How to keep school children hydrated

hydration

As adults we know how important it is to keep our bodies hydrated. How though, do we ensure that children learn the benefits of drinking regularly? Evidence suggests incorporating healthy drinks into their daily lives benefits both the physical wellbeing of children and also their mental alertness. Dr Emma Derbyshire from Manchester Metropolitan University in association with the Natural Hydration Council (NHC) carried out a study of schoolchildren in 2012 and found that “providing children with water at school significantly increased levels of cognition, including factors such as visual memory and performance.”

How much should  children be drinking?
Obviously the amount varies depending on climate, exercise, age of child etc but as a rough guide children should be drinking 6-8 glasses of fluid per day. Younger children need smaller servings (approximately 120-150ml) whilst older children should be drinking 250-300ml servings.

What should children be drinking?
Water is the obvious choice as it does not contain extra calories or cause tooth decay (see the British Nutrition Foundation’s Healthy Hydration Guide for 4-13 year olds.) Other drinks are good alternatives, including milk, diluted juices and smoothies, which are recommended at mealtimes.

Ten Hydration Tips for Children
Patterns of drinking behaviour tend to be established in early childhood so how can we ensure that children remain hydrated throughout the day?

• Include a healthy drink with every meal. A jug of water at the table provides a cheap and healthy drink. Encourage children to refill their glasses during the meal.
• Pack a water bottle in their school bag.
• Encourage children to drink small amounts regularly as children often don’t realise they’re thirsty until the early signs of dehydration kick in.
• Encourage children to have a drink before taking part in exercise.
• If children are playing outside, introduce regular breaks for a drink.
• Serve drinks cool (add ice cubes to water bottles on a warm day).
• Offer drinks which children enjoy including water, diluted juices and milk.
• Fruit and vegetables often have a high water content and can count towards a child’s fluid intake, so offer fruit and veg as snacks when introducing drink breaks.
• Schools can support parents in encouraging children to drink regularly by adopting a ‘bring a water bottle’ policy and encouraging regular drink consumption during the day.
• For a treat, get children involved in preparing a smoothie made from their favourite fruit and vegetables.

Livewell’s Hydration Stations contain a range of drinks to “hydrate, refresh and awaken”, including water and fruit juices. For more information visit our Hydration Station page. 

For further information on Livewell Vending contact either Aaron Prout, MD on 07817 892830 or Liz Hines, Business Manager on 01423 876352 or email liz@livewellvending.co.uk today.

To read more about hydration for children visit The British Nutrition Foundation and the Natural Hydration Council.



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