Just as you loosely track your toddler’s consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables, you should also make sure he drinks enough water. Water keeps your active toddler hydrated throughout his busy day, and it also delivers nutrients to different parts of his body, flushes impurities from his system and helps him sweat, which keeps him from getting overheated.
Vitamin water, so-called smart water, sweetened water, flavored water and carbonated water, take a back seat to the healthful benefits of plain drinking water for toddlers. If your toddler pushes the sippy cup aside, try flavoring it with a squeeze of fresh orange. Some toddlers enjoy ice water or even heated water for a pretend teatime.
The basic quantity of water toddlers should drink is 1.3 liters per day, or 5.4 cups. However, this number does not take into account factors such as summer heat or an intense activity level. If you are at the park or playground, hit the water fountain a few times to compensate for the extra activity.
Toddlers do not always recognize that they are thirsty. They may misinterpret thirst as hunger, or may not think to ask for water. You can resolve this issue by always having water available. Designate a special water bottle for your toddler, and keep it within his reach throughout the day. Offer water with every snack or meal, and provide water instead of or before fruit juice.
Toddlers typically consume part of their daily water intake in other forms. For example, a frozen fruit juice treat, applesauce or a broth-based soup with low-salt content can replace some, but not all of, your toddler’s daily water intake.
As you go through your day, try offering water to your toddler every hour or so. He does not need to drink any certain quantity at each time, but he will benefit from the reminder to hydrate. In addition, if you drink plenty of plain water in front of him, he is more likely to adopt the habit.
If you have well water, you may want to have the water tested for nitrate content. Note that water filters typically clean large particles from water but do not filter out dissolved minerals or fluoride.