Being a caregiver for a tiny human is difficult. Whether you're a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, nanny, or anything in between, there are lots of specific things that need to be remembered when looking after a little one. Not only that, but those things change as kids grow and hit new milestones. As an example, physicians recommend that infants only consume breastmilk or formula for the first six months of life. After that, though, should different liquids be introduced? And when? It's important to keep toddlers hydrated, especially as they get more active. So how much water should your toddler be getting? Does it matter how much they get from juice or through eating fruits or vegetables, as it does with adults?
As it turns out, it does. In an interview with Baby Center, pediatric gastroenterologist Dr. Pankaj Vohra recommended that toddlers need approximately 1.3 liters of fluids everyday. This recommendation includes water, juice, milk, brothy soups, and the like. But what about water specifically? The Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) published a chart on its website to illustrate its' doctors' water intake recommendations. According to CHOC, from age 1 to 8, kids should drink one eight-ounce cup of water for each year old they are. So, a 2 year old should drink 16 ounces of water a day, a 3 year old should drink 24, and so on.
Although these are solid starting guidelines, the specific amount of fluids that your toddler needs each day depends on a lot of factors beyond simply his or her age. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' website, Eat Right, your toddler's daily water needs are also dependent on their gender, weight, the air temperature outside, humidity, their activity level, and their health. On hot, humid days, especially active or sick days, the need for water may be greater than on cooler, calmer days, for instance. Toddlers are especially vulnerable to dehydration, as well, due to the fact that they're typically pretty active and often unlikely to stop playing or exploring (or, you know, generally wreaking havoc) to take a drink, according to the aforementioned article on the Baby Center website.
So how can you encourage water drinking if you're worried your toddler isn't getting enough? Dr. Michael Lee, assistant professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center and a pediatrician at Children's Medical Center Dallas, told The Bump that ensuring that your toddler knows that he or she can ask for water whenever they'd like some is one good way to encourage more water consumption. According to Cafe Mom, making sure it's cold, infusing it with fruit, or swapping some of the still water out for sparkling seltzers (unsweetened and calorie-free) can all help boost water-drinking in little ones (and adults), as well. Keeping an eye on how hydrated your kiddos are can stave off dehydration, help with digestion, and keep them their sweet, happy selves.