Why Water Is Key for Children’s Development

Water Improves Cognitive Function

Water facilitates improved cognitive functioning in children and adults alike. Children spend about six hours per day at school, where remaining alert and attentive is vital for their success. A well-hydrated child is a child who may have less trouble focusing and an easier time retaining learned information.

Water Protects the Spinal Cord and Lubricates the Muscles

It’s vital that we protect our kids from bodily injuries early in life as much as we possibly can. To that end, consider that a healthy daily intake of water helps protect the spinal cord and insulate it from possible injury. It’s also vital in lubricating the muscles, which is a boon to the flexibility and durability of the body, and helps ensure our active children don’t run the risk of experiencing an injury which could follow them into adulthood.

How Much Water Should Children Drink?

It should go without saying, but water is just one component in children’s health – but it’s a hugely important one. There’s one question left to answer: just how much water do kids need to drink? Every child is different, but it’s important to keep these basic guidelines in mind:

  • Children ages 1 to 3 need 5-1/2 cups of water per day (4 from beverages and 1-1/2 from foods).
  • Children ages 4 to 8 need 7 cups of water per day (5 from beverages and 2 from foods).
  • Girls ages 9 to 13 need 9 cups of water per day (7 from beverages and 2 from foods).
  • Boys ages 9 to 13 need 10 cups per day (8 from beverages and 2 from foods).

Naturally, kids who are more active than average require slightly higher levels of hydration than this. And that means part of this struggle, for parents, means becoming better in tune with your children. Look for signs of dehydration such as lethargy, mood changes, unusual weakness and tiredness, confusion and cracked or chapped lips.

With these benefits and guidelines in mind, all that’s left to do is to get (and stay!) hydrated. Even if it takes a slice of fruit in their glass to help this “medicine” go down, parents have all the reason in the world to take children’s hydration seriously. Your kids probably won’t thank you for it, but you’ll get all the thanks you need when they grow up healthy and fit in mind and body.


Emily is the editor of Conservation Folks and a sustainability and conservation blogger. Follow her on Twitter to see the latest updates.

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