Lesson: "Water" the Most Important Element Of Life

A primary school-age child playing with his friends runs home and asks for water from his mother with his shoes still on. When it gets extremely hot in summer, children ask for water from their parents because they get hot. They also ask for water when they try a new food and don't like it. Basically, it is always the "children" asking for water.

Every day, parents ask their children lots of food-related questions like "Have you finished your breakfast?", "Did you finish up your lunch box?" or "Are you hungry?" However, adults, who consume less water than their children, do not often ask if they would you like to drink water. Just as with adequate and balanced nutrition habits, the habit of drinking water should also begin in childhood.

Here are our suggestions if you want your child to get into this habit

- While the fluid-intake needs of children depend on their age, sex, and level of physical activity, you should get them to drink 6 to 8 glasses of liquid per day. One way to do this is to prepare a picture made of water glasses. You can ask your child to color in the amount of glasses he or she drank so you can help him or her measure the amount of water he or she drank.
- You can make sure that your child drinks plenty of water at breakfast before heading off to school or when he or she is very physically active.
- When it is hot, you should increase your child's intake of fluids, especially water.
- You can make fluid intake fun. If your child doesn't want to drink water you can use high-water content drinks such as ayran (a salted and sparkling Turkish yogurt beverage), milk, stewed fruits, freshly squeezed fruit juices, and more.
- Foods such as cucumbers, lettuces, melons, watermelons, oranges, and tangerines have high water content. You can make your child consume more of these foods to increase his or her fluid intake.
- You can add food with high-water content to his or her lunch box. Foods that are easy to eat like cucumbers and tangerines could be good alternatives.
- If you take a bottle of water with you before you go out, it will encourage your child to drink water since he or she can access it easily.
- Make sure there is always water on the dinner table to encourage drinking water.

References:
- British Nutrition Foundation; Hydration for children, http://www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/hydration/hydration-for-children.html
- EUFIC, Frequently Asked Questions, http://www.eufic.org/page/en/page/FAQ/faqid/avoid-indigestion-by-not-taking-fluids-with-meals/




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