How to keep your kids refreshed on the field

Kristin Chessman

Rate this Article:
Max 5 stars
My Rating

No matter what time of year, it’s always important to keep your little athletes refreshed on the field or court. Without proper hydration, children risk heat-related illnesses or, in extreme cases, even death. Read on for simple ways to keep your kids safe and refreshed all season long.

kid taking a drink of water while playing soccer

Plan ahead

When mapping out refreshments and snacks for your all-star, think in terms of protein, complex carbs and vitamins. Also, as Maddie Hamilton of Mommy’s Everyday Remedies points out, make sure you allow plenty of time for digestion before game time.

The 411 on hydration

Hydration shouldn’t just begin on the field. In fact, proper hydration should start before exercise begins and continue after it stops.

To figure out how much water you and your family need each day, use this online water calculator.

Don’t wait until they’re thirsty

If your child is thirsty, chances are they’ve already lost fluid and electrolytes, and they’re moving toward dehydration. Most children, especially young athletes, underestimate just how much fluid they need.

Leading up to the athletic event, Mommy’s ER recommends hydrating slow and steady.

“How much a typical child should be drinking depends on their body weight," Hamilton says. "But at 44 pounds, they should be drinking at least 50 ounces (over six 8-ounce glasses) of fluid a day or more, especially during active outdoor play. Add at least 0.3 ounces to their requirements for fluid for every pound over 44 pounds.”

Between activities, check your child’s urine to determine if they’re getting enough fluids. “If urine is nearly clear or a pale yellow, they are getting enough -- deep yellow urine or complaints of thirst are usually signs of dehydration,” Hamilton says.

Other dehydration signs to watch for include: crying without tears, a sunken appearance and the ‘pinch test,’ where skin on the arm or hand stays up for a moment after being gently pinched before returning to its normal position.

Sports drinks versus water

Game time! So, which bottle should your child reach for while sitting in the dugout -- water or a sports drink? According to BodyInstinct author and health and fitness consultant Tari Rose, nothing beats good ol’ H20.

“Most kids playing most sports only need water to refresh. It’s a misconception that sports drinks are necessary every time they’re playing a sport.” she says. “I only suggest sports drinks if a child is doing an hour or more of sustained activity or playing in extremely hot temperatures.”

Crazy for coconuts

If you’re looking for a more natural way for your little all-star to get electrolytes than a sports drink, pick up some coconut water. “Coconut water is a great (and sweet) way to stay hydrated and cool,” Hamilton says.

Another way to keep your child refreshed, as suggested by Mommy’s ER, is to add 10 percent fruit juice (such as an organic apple juice) to their water.

More health tips for athletes

10 Portable snacks for your young all-star
Superhero lunch recipes
Feeding your child athlete