It’s almost that time of year again – back to school! This hectic time in August is a frenzy for parents trying to plan back to school activities, school shopping for clothes and supplies, and enrollment. When you are signing your kids up for sports activities, be sure to remember one very important tip – keep them hydrated! Dehydration is one of the biggest dangers in kid’s sports.
Since kids are in school all day and generally go straight to practice, it is hard to monitor your child’s fluid intake throughout the day. That’s why it’s important to instill responsible water intake habits at home. Help them prep for a game the day before by encouraging them to drink plenty of water. Offer your kids hydrating snacks such as watermelon, strawberries, or cantaloupe to take to school during their sports season.
Avoid allowing your kids to have energy drinks or soda. Both contain caffeine which is a natural diuretic and will lead to even faster dehydration. If your kid hates drinking plain water, try making it fun by letting them pick out or decorate their own water bottle. Although sports drinks are better than sodas and pop, they still contain a lot of sugar and electrolytes and are best only for extreme physical activity, but still not necessary. Your child’s best defense against dehydration is simply to drink plenty of water!
Staying well hydrated helps keep your kids safe as well as increasing their energy levels and helping them perform at their best level. It’s especially important to stay on top of monitoring your kids hydration if they:
- Do not exercise often.
- Are overweight or obese.
- Have recently vomited or had diarrhea.
- Are not well-rested.
- Are on certain medications.
- Have a chronic condition like diabetes.
Prevention is the best way to fight dehydration, but recognizing the signs of dehydration is just as important. If your child is becoming dehydrated, noticing early can help prevent heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat stroke. Teach your child to be aware of the signs and symptoms of dehydration. Tell them to alert their coach, take a break, and drink plenty of fluids if they start to experience any of these symptoms:
- Dry mouth
With back to school around the corner, remember to keep your kids out in the field and out of danger with these tips on preventing and recognizing dehydration. Don’t “sit on the bench” when it comes to encouraging your kids to drink more water!