Staying hydrated is particularly important during the hotter weather and children need their water levels nicely topped up. They also need to keep their energy levels up, so here are my tips for keeping your child hydrated and eating in the summer.
Keeping your child hydrated
According to Sarah, from Feed the Family, children aged 1-4 years should have 6-8 cups of fluid a day - that's 150-200ml per serving.
Older children should have 6-8 cups a day, but larger servings - 250-300ml per serving.
The best choices are water and milk as these don't contain free sugars. Fruit juices and smoothies (up to 150ml once a day) should only be given with meals due to the acids they
contain which can damage teeth. Sugar-free squash should also only be given at meals.
If your child isn't keen on water, then you can add some slices of lemon or lime to flavour it.
But what about babies?
0-6 months - Fully breastfed babies do not need any water until they've started weaning. During hot weather they may want to feed more than usual.
For bottle fed babies, as well as their usual milk feeds, you can give your baby cooled boiled water.
Around 6 months - Once you have started weaning, you should offer water with all meals. Remember that breastmilk or formula should be their main drinks during the first year, but do offer water throughout the day when it is hot.
Eating when it's hot
It's not unusual for children to go off their food when the weather is hot. Try to keep your child cool and offer meals in the shade.
Front loading can be useful when it is really hot. This is where breakfast becomes the main meal of the day, with lunch and dinner being smaller. This way of eating can really help later in the day when your child is hot and tired.
Picky bits are great to allow your child to graze. Having plenty to pick at throughout the day can ensure that your child gets everything that they need, as and when they want/feel like it.
Foods that help hydrate
These foods are all water-rich and will help your child stay hydrated
Signs that your child is dehydrated
Dark brown or yellow wee - wee should be pale yellow
Fewer wet nappies or nappies not as wet as usual
Older children making less trips to the toilet
Dry lips, tongue, mouth or throat
Your child may be extremely thirsty, lethargic, have cold hands and feet, breathing faster than usual, irritable, confused or drowsy.
If your child is showing signs of severe dehydration, seek medical attention immediately