But, its importance is little emphasized in so-called nutritional guides for children as well as in adults. The fact of the matter is, unless the body gets hydrated adequately, any other nutrient would not be metabolized effectively as cellular functions would be disrupted throughout the body.
The needs and the benefits:
Someone can argue that, since a child is much smaller than an adult, the amount of water that is required by a child is much less than for an adult. But, this is not true. In fact, a child would have to drink more water in order to maintain adequate hydration in the body than an adult who’s living in the same environment.
Another important thing to remember is that, the thirst mechanism of a child is not mature enough to induce thirst before dehydration sets in but most often the child starts to drink eagerly when the body becomes dehydrated to a certain extent.
Improved School performance:
Another finding regarding dehydration is that, the ability to concentrate and perform quality mental functioning is not possible when a child becomes dehydrated. Thus, if your child is not drinking enough water at school, they can perform below par when compared to other students and this will influence the grades they take in the class exams.
Better performance at sports:
When not enough fluids are taken in by a child, they are less compelled to exert physically and even if they exert, they would not be able to sustain performance for a longer time as a child who is well-hydrated. Therefore, children who are even mildly dehydrated would not be able to perform at exceptional levels in their physical involvements.
Apart from the physical and mental functioning, children would require more water as their bodies grow much faster during this time. As they have a higher metabolic rate, they will have to take more water and any reduction in the intake can lead to poor metabolic functioning and therefore sub optimal levels of growth.
When taking these into consideration, encouraging them to take enough water would be the key in preventing dehydration. Although there are many other fluids available for drinking such as carbonated soft drinks and fruit juices, they will not match the usefulness of taking pure, clean water and it is advisable for children to carry their own water bottles. This is truer in instances of children engaged in sports activities as it will demand more water and it will actively encourage them to drink water instead of drinking other fluid substitutes.