Infusions can be a cool way to get uninterested kids to start drinking water. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Children can be picky drinkers. But in the season of sweat especially, it’s important for them to stay hydrated. Water can perk a body up, boost mood and energy levels and even help concentration. It serves as a toxin flusher and helps prevent constipation.

So how much water should a child be drinking?

“Depending on a child’s age, size and activity levels, their fluid needs will differ," explains UAE-based nutritionist Farah Hillou.

  • Children under 8: four to six cups of water a day
  • Children over 8: six to eight cups a day


Water breaks however, are generally quite low on a child’s list of things to do. Wondering how to get the drinks they need in? We asked UAE-based mums for real-time habits that work.

Fun, coloured bottles: Irish mum of two, Grace O’Connell Barker explains that finding good quality reusable water bottles fun colours and designs are key to getting kids to drink their daily quota. “Kids are interested in them and they get used to refilling them by themselves,” says the 35 year old.

Grace with her son
Grace with her son Image Credit: Instagram/gracie.dxb

Keep it cool: Amelia Witchard, 30-year-old British expat in Dubai, keeps a few bottles of water in the freezer during the summer months. “Freezing bottles of water and taking them out with you so they slowly defrost and are cool in the day [is a good tip],” she says.

Water, water everywhere: Besides that, Witchard also suggests offering water on demand. And keeping a vigilant watch on wet nappies to ensure maximum comfort.

“We always keep his water bottle easy for him to reach in every corner of the house. Also when we are outside we just keep offering multiple times a day,” adds Filipino expat in UAE Millena Kristie.

Get the add-ons: While no one likes to pay for extras, this one may be the best supplementary tool. “I also have a liner on my pram that helps keep it cool and absorbs sweat quickly,” she says.

Make a goal: “I think the best tip is to get a water bottle and make sure the kids (and us mums) drink at least two full bottles every single day. By using a water bottle it’s easier to track and measure hydration,” say mums Rebecca Davis and Megan Kelly.

A cool water bottle is sure to entice the kiddos.

Make things personal: Canadian expat Amberly Frenken-Metzler suggests not only investing in a good water bottle but also personalising them! “That or get them involved in choosing theirs. You have so many options here luckily with great products that you can match with other items such as backpacks and lunch containers.”

Take the kids to the pool: Frenken-Metzler adds that there are a number of temperature-controlled (read cooled) water parks and pools in UAE, so one must take advantage of water activities. “These will help the body stay cooler during the summer months while keeping the kids entertained.”

Try some infusions: For kids who may be less inclined to drink water, try infusing it with fruits. “We put fresh lime or lemon juice into my son’s water and he calls it lemonade,” says Frenken-Metzler.

Nawrin Huq
Nawrin Huq with her daughter Image Credit: Instagram/@@nawrin.ela.Huq

Use grown up glasses: “A spoon full of sugar (fruit in this case) makes the medicine go down! I take the kids to buy pretty fruit and then we use the mandolin slicer to make pretty fruit-infused water which the kids are happy to drink in their grown up glasses,” says Sonali Goenka, Indian expat in Dubai.

“We had a jubilee tea party with three types of infused water this week with fruit skewers. Good fun and nutritious and hydrating,” she adds.

Make popsicles: Bangladesh expat Nawrin Huq,  has a two-year-old daughter. “My daughter’s favourite fruit is watermelon, so what we do is we blend it and give it to her as a smoothie. Or we cut it into pieces or sometimes, we make it into popsicles. Summer fruits are all really good for hydration, be it mango, watermelon – everything can be made into popsicles. When we are out and about, it’s a good way to cool her down. If we are going to the beach or the pool or going for a walk, I grab one,” she says.

Keep a straw on hand: “Ensure your little one has a straw with their cup. Not only does it make it fun for your little one when drinking, but it also means your little one will consume more water,” says expat mum of one, Hannah Rohan.

Keep a stash of yogurt sashes: “A top tip to keep your little one cool whilst hydrated is frozen yoghurt. To do this, buy yoghurt sashes, pop them in the freezer and offer these to your little one to enjoy and keep themselves fresh, cool and happy,” she adds.

Avoiding sugar traps
While fruit pops and juices are a good way to hydrate, say nutritionists, it’s important to keep the sugar levels of the infusions in check. Nutritionist Farah Hillou says: “Stay away from sugar-rich fruit juices and other sugar-rich beverages and focus instead on water-rich fruits (watermelon, berries) and vegetables (celery, cucumber, lettuce).”
Jordana Smith, Nutritionist at Genesis Dubai, suggests using a cordial or fruit juice to flavour water, but warns against using too much of it. “This cordial water should be at the most a 75:25 dilution, but ideally even less, with water being the highest concentration. You could use a cordial, but avoid following the dilution guide on the label, as this will always be too sweet,” she explains

What does dehydration look like in a child?

If your child is displaying any of these symptoms, it may be because of too little water.

  • Dark urine
  • Low volume of urine
  • Dry skin
  • Chapped lips
  • No tears or complaints of dry eyes
  • Saying they are thirsty: US-based Cleveland Clinic explains on its website: “If you’re thirsty, you’re already mildly dehydrated, and that can cause symptoms like headache, fatigue and dizziness.”
Did you know?
Severe dehydration shrinks the blood vessels in the brain. When there aren’t high enough fluid levels in your brain, that affects your memory and coordination.
Source: Cleveland Clinic

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