Summer is in full swing here in sunny South Africa, hooray! It’s the season of running around outside, sweet fruit, delicious braais outside with friends and having a dip in the pool instead of a bath at the end of the day. But amidst all this fun, it’s so important for us to keep tabs on our little one’s hydration levels and make sure that they are taking in enough liquids to prevent dehydration.

It may seem like quite a task to undertake but don’t worry, we have you covered with all the information that you need. Dehydration in kids can happen quickly, so it’s important that parents and caregivers recognise the signs, as untreated dehydration in children can lead to severe complications in hospital.

Before we get into some ways to keep your toddler and preschooler hydrated, let’s look at some of the signs of dehydration in children that you should watch out for:

  • Constant drowsiness and lethargy
  • A dry mouth and cracked lips
  • Sunken eyes
  • No tears when they cry
  • Weak and limp

If your child shows one or more of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to take them to get checked out by a doctor. In mild cases, an oral rehydration solution will do the trick. If more severe, they may need to have an IV to combat the dehydration faster and an overnight stay in the hospital may be necessary.

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Before you start to panic, dehydration is fairly simple to keep at bay once you know how, especially if you get a little bit creative.

Here are five tips and tricks to keep your child’s hydration levels at maximum without creating too much work for yourself:

  1. The most obvious tip is to keep offering drinks of water every hour or so, and if your child is playing a sport, try for every 20 to 30 minutes. Even if they only take a few sips, it will definitely go a long way to keeping them hydrated.
    lime-water-for-dehydration
  2. Sugar-free ice lollies are a great way to get some liquid into your child. They usually lap it up, thinking it’s an ice cream and you can rest easy knowing that they’re being hydrated without too much of a sugar high. You can often find these in your local supermarket; alternatively, there are plenty of recipes online that you can try out.
    sugar-free-ice-lollies-for-dehydration
  3. Some fruits are packed with natural hydration. Put out some delicious snacks like watermelon and strawberries for them to munch on while playing outside. You can even try some cucumber and celery sticks. Of course, fruit has a slightly higher sugar content but the professionals agree that it’s definitely a good option to keep your child hydrated. (Try not to give them fruit juice, which is high in sugar, though).
    fruit-for-dehydration
  4. Keep things interesting and fun by having a wide selection of different cups and water bottles. Cartoon characters and glitter ones are always good to have, as are some fun straws. Let your child choose which cup or juice bottle they want to use at meal times or pack into their school bag. This is definitely a good way to motivate them to drink on up!
  5. Create a “juice” making station in your garden when your kids are playing outside or have a playdate. Put together some cups, different coloured water (just add a few drops of food colouring), cut up fruit and some crazy straws. Your child and their friends will love creating their own fun concoction and then drinking it all up.

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Sarah Booyens Profile ImageSarah is a beauty-product hoarding mama who simply cannot get enough coffee into her system. You can expect to see a little of everything in her blog Mascara & Mimosas, from what makes parenthood a bit easier to her latest beauty obsession – or even what DIY she’s just tried.

Sarah Booyens Profile Image
Sarah is a beauty-product hoarding mama who simply cannot get enough coffee into her system. You can expect to see a little of everything in her blog Mascara & Mimosas, from what makes parenthood a bit easier to her latest beauty obsession – or even what DIY she’s just tried.