Drinking water and staying hydrated is incredibly important, especially during hot summer months. Even more so when it comes to your kids! Newborns and younger infants don't need hydration other than what they get from formula or breast milk. But toddlers are a different story. Here's what you need to know about how much water your toddler should be drinking.
Importance of Hydration
You've probably noticed that your toddler can get pretty sweaty and hot just running around and playing. Like us, they need to replenish the fluids they lose. Drinking plenty of water helps keep our bodies hydrated, replaces fluids lost to sweat (which is our body's very own personal cooling system!), and helps prevent things like kidney and urinary tract infections. Their bodies need water to function properly and keep them healthy! And while there are plenty of hydration options out there (milk, juice, etc.), nothing comes close to plain ol' H2O in terms of getting the job done and keeping their brains and muscles hydrated.
How Much Water Should Toddlers Drink?
As a general rule, toddlers should drink approximately one 8-ounce cup of water for every year of their age. So your 1-year-old should have one 8-ounce cup of water a day, 2-year-olds should be drinking two 8-ounce cups of water a day, and so on and so forth. Younger toddlers who are still drinking formula or breast milk will also get hydration from their bottles or nursing sessions. And of course, your toddler will consume foods throughout the day that also help replenish their fluids, like fresh fruits and vegetables and cooked grains and soups.
While this rule applies to everyday life, it may need to be adjusted on an as-needed basis, according to your toddler's activity level or the temperature outside. For example, if your toddler is playing at the park on a warm, sunny day, it's a good idea to give them an extra cup of water before and after play time. And make sure they're taking plenty of rest breaks where they get a good 6-8 gulps of water in.
Can they drink milk or juice instead?
Milk and some juices definitely have benefits. But for hydration, there's no better option than plain water (try adding some berries or cucumbers to their water if they need a little something extra in terms of flavor!). If your child drinks cow's milk, which is full of calcium and other nutrients, they should be drinking about 2 cups a day between the ages of 1-9. Juices that are 100% fruit juice also has nutritional benefits, but should be given in moderation. Experts recommend no more than six ounces of juice a day for kids between the ages of 1-6.
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