Circular 1037-03
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By Kathryn Tarulli, Dr. Diane Bales and Dr. Charlotte Wallinga — Department of Human Development and Family Science

Drink Water: Drinking water and staying hydrated is an important part of keeping your family healthy.

When children are properly hydrated, they are better equipped to succeed during the day. Dehydration negatively affects mental and physical abilities, making it difficult for children to concentrate and participate in activities.

Children who have not had enough water also experience more headaches, sleepiness, and irritability.

Even if your child does not feel thirsty, it is important to drink water all day long. When you feel thirst, you may already be starting to get dehydrated.

How can you help your child drink more water?

  • Encourage your child to drink water at home
  • Give your child water to drink instead of soft drinks or other sugary drinks
  • Keep water handy so your child can help him or herself when thirsty
  • Send a water bottle to school with your child

*Mayo Clinic. (2012). Water. Retrieved from

Family Fun Activity: Hydration Station

Use this easy activity to help your child learn.

What You Need:

  • Water bottle
  • Paper
  • Markers

What To Do:

  • Review with your child why it is important to drink water
    • "Our bodies need water to stay healthy, and without water, we become dehydrated"
    • "If our bodies are dehydrated, it is hard for them to do their job"
  • Help your child make a chart to keep track of how much water he or she drinks throughout the day
  • Make columns for each day of the week
  • Separate the columns with several boxes for your child to fill in
  • Each time your child refills the water bottle, invite them to mark the chart
  • Count the marks on the chart with your child
  • This will help your child keep track of how much water he or she is drinking

This is publication 3 out of 24 in the Eat Healthy, Be Active: Keeping Children Healthy at Home and School series. For more information visit

Status and Revision History
Published on May 13, 2014
Published with Full Review on Mar 28, 2017

Diane W Bales Assoc Professor & Human Dev Spec, Family & Consumer Sciences
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