Two children are staying hydrated during the summer.

For neurodiverse children, staying hydrated can be particularly challenging due to sensory sensitivities or difficulty with reading their internal cues. As summer approaches and temperatures rise, here are some practical tips to help your child stay hydrated and healthy throughout the season. 

Use Visual Reminders

Create visual reminders, such as charts or timers, to prompt your child to drink water at regular intervals. Incorporate these reminders into their daily routine to establish a consistent habit. 

Provide Hydration-Friendly Foods 

Incorporate hydrating and nutritious foods into your child's diet, such as watermelon, cucumber, oranges, and yogurt.  If you and your child like to prepare food together, you can try making ice pops using 100% fruit juice or pureed fruit, vegetables or yogurt. 

Be Mindful of Dehydration Culprits 

Foods and beverages that are high in sodium or added and refined sugars can deplete your child’s hydration level. Limit your child’s intake of these foods whenever possible, and make sure your child has access to hydrating foods and beverages when they crave salty and sweet items. 

Additionally, exercising (or simply sitting) in the heat for long periods of time can contribute to hydration. Setting a timer to remind your child to drink water, jump in the pool, or head indoors to cool down for a while can help.  

Offer Sensory-Friendly Drinking Options 

Pay attention to your child's sensory preferences when choosing drinking vessels. Some children may prefer straws, sports bottles, or cups with built-in straws to make drinking more comfortable and enjoyable. 

Additionally, some children may enjoy the sensation of different flavors in their water. Experiment with adding fresh fruit or mint for an added flavor boost. 

Create Inviting Spaces 

Designate cool and inviting spaces where your child can relax and hydrate comfortably during hot summer days. Consider setting up a shaded outdoor area or a cozy corner indoors with refreshing drinks readily available. 

Lead by Example 

Serve as a role model for healthy hydration habits by drinking plenty of water yourself. Emphasize the importance of staying hydrated throughout the day and make hydration a family affair by enjoying water-rich snacks and practicing sun-safe behaviors together. 

By prioritizing hydration, sun safety, and nutritious foods, you'll ensure that your child enjoys all of the joys of summer. Here's to a summer brimming with health and happiness for your family!