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Managing Hydration For Children During Physical Activity And Sports

Anne Kolker • MS, Registered Dietitian • Aug 15, 2012
Now is a good opportunity to teach your child about the importance of drinking water and staying hydrated while exercising. Did you know that our bodies are estimated to be about 60-70% water?
Water has several important functions in the body:
  • it helps regulate your body’s temperature
  • it helps nutrients travel to all your organs
  • it also protects all of your joints
  • It is good for your skin
  • It helps your body process food more efficiently


Water Needs of The Active Child

It is more important that you child is hydrated while doing exercise.   fluids to hydrate active children
The current recommendation for children is to drink at least 4 ounces (a half-cup) of water every 20 minutes while exercising. 
We lose water everyday by sweating, going to the bathroom and even breathing! Explain to your child that water keeps the body hydrated and, if you don’t get enough water, you may start to feel dehydrated. 


If your child plays sports like volleyball, basketball or soccer, it is important to drink water 20 minutes prior to your practice or game. Their body sweats off fluid to keep cool. So, if your children are super active and/or it is really hot, remember to have them drink every 20 minutes or so including after their game.

  • Have your son or daughter drink water at least a half hour before his/her practice. 
  • Bring a water bottle to ensure he can drink during breaks in the game. 
  • Offering watermelon after the game is great as it contains 90% water. 


Children that do not get adequate amounts of water during activity, could show signs of dehydration.
Signs of dehydration can include:
  • Feeling tired or confused
  • Dizziness
  • Having a headache
  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Having leg or stomach cramps
  • Feeling thirsty

If your child displays signs of dehydration

  • Have them rest away from the sun in a shaded area
  • Offer them sips of water they will be probably complain of thirst.  Let them drink and quench their thirst
  • Contact your physician if your child does not improve or for any reason you are concerned










See All Our Nutrition Articles

Written by Anne KolkerWritten on Aug 15, 2012Last updated on Aug 27, 2013




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