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8 Ways to Keep Your Children Hydrated All Summer

07/01/2019 12:00:00

Hello summer! It’s almost time for the kids to get out of school and many will be starting summer activities and sports. One of the most important parts of health is staying hydrated, but summer time can make that even more challenging than usual. Kids can become dehydrated for a variety of reasons, including a fever, diarrhea, vomiting, excessive sweating from long periods of exercise or heat, and some illnesses. 

If getting your kids to drink water is a struggle, you’re not alone. Encourage your kids to drink up with these fun tips that can last all summer long!

8 Ways to Keep Your Kids Hydrated All Summer | UnityPoint Health - Sioux City

1. Make Water Visible

Children are more likely to drink water if they can see it. Place water for them to drink strategically around your home. Have a pitcher available in the kitchen, serve them water with dinner, and place a glass of water next to their bed at night. Children who don’t consume enough water will begin to show signs and symptoms of dehydration. The signs of dehydration in children include:

  • A dry or sticky mouth

  • Very little or no tears when crying

  • Eyes that look sunken into their head

  • A sunken soft spot on a baby’s head

  • Lack of urine for 12 hours in older kids, or a very small amount of dark yellow urine

  • Lack of urine or wet diapers for 6 to 8 hours in younger children, or a very small amount of dark yellow urine

  • Cool, dry, wrinkled skin

  • Lethargy

  • Irritability

  • Fatigue

  • Dizziness

  • Rapid and deep breathing

Being thirsty is not a good sign of dehydration.

The feeling of being thirsty may be an indicator that your child is already dehydrated. Allow them to drink as much water as they want if they are feeling thirsty, however, remember that they may not be fully hydrated even if they are no longer thirsty.

2. Make it Fun!

Buy your kids special cups or crazy straws so that drinking water becomes more fun. Let it be something they look forward to when they come home from school or something special they get when they are in the car. Kids who participate in sports should drink water before an activity begins, during the activity, and after the activity ends to stay hydrated.

3. Make it Tasty

Some kids just don’t want to drink water! If your kids really love juice, mix three-parts water with one-part 100% fruit juice to create your own concoction. You can also make a pitcher of water mixed with fruits like melons, lemons, oranges, strawberries, or grapes to create different flavors. Let your kids help mix up this water so they will be more interested in drinking it!

4. Make It Interesting

Create ice cubes filled with fruit to make water more interesting to drink. The fruit will add a pop of color and watching the ice melt could be a fun game. When all of the water is gone, your kids get to eat the fruit which is also filled with water.

5. Buy Reusable Water Bottles

Buy reusable water bottles for the whole family! Take them with you in the car, on outings, and to sporting events. Kids who participate in sports  run a higher risk of dehydration, especially if they are outside in the heat. Dehydration in children can cause extreme fussiness, sleepiness, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeats, rapid breathing, a fever, and in serious cases, delirium or unconsciousness.

6. Make Homemade Popsicles

By mixing together 100% fruit juice and water and freezing it in a tray with a stick, you can get your kids to consume more water! This fun activity can also help beat the heat during a summer day. A child who has become dehydrated from physical activity or heat should rest indoors or in the shade and drink water until they are rehydrated. 

If your child has become dehydrated due to an illness, you should talk to your doctor about what products they recommend to get children rehydrated. There are many products that you can buy that are specifically made for rehydration (these are not sports drinks!).

7. Make It Cold

Adding ice to water can make your kids more inclined to drink it. Children who become severely dehydrated from activity or heat are at an increased risk of developing a heat injury like heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or the very serious heat stroke. Severe dehydration can also cause the swelling of the brain, seizures, low blood volume shock, kidney failure, or worse.

8. Don’t Buy The Bad Stuff

Your kids aren’t in control of what you buy at the store, you are! Take this time to avoid sports drinks, soft drinks, and other sugary drinks. Sports drinks are only appropriate if your child participates in athletics or another activity that causes sweating. If you don’t have these types of drinks in your house, your kids can’t drink them!

There is no magic number of ounces of water that your child should be consuming everyday. It all depends on their activity level, the weather, and what other foods and drinks they have been consuming. Most adults have probably heard that they should be drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, but that also includes the water in other foods and drinks they have been consuming.

Adults can follow these tips as well and make drinking more water a family affair! It’s important to call a family medicine provider if your child develops any signs of dehydration, especially if it is associated with vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy, or they haven’t wet any diapers in over 8 hours. Schedule a spring and sports physical with a provider today to get your kids ready for anything summer brings!


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06/04/2019 12:00:00

For generations, children have spent their summers at day and sleepaway camps, trying new activities such as swimming, hiking, and various sports. But what many families may not realize is that camp provides children with different opportunities to develop important life skills that are difficult to achieve in any other environment. Below are just a few of the many benefits your children will gain from the summer camp experience.

1) Campers obtain the life skills needed to become successful adults.

At camp, children gain valuable life skills. In fact, an organization called The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (comprising a group of businesses, education leaders, and policymakers) has found there is a large gap between the knowledge students learn in school and the skills they need to be successful in the 21st century. After extensive research, the organization determined that some of the skills necessary to become successful adults are communication, collaboration, creativity, leadership, socialization, and problem solving. All of these areas are fostered in the camp environment.

Campers are always communicating with each other, either on the field or in the bunk, learning to work together as a team and as part of the camp community. They also get to be leaders at camp, whether through guiding a first-time younger camper or managing their camp Olympics team. Campers learn to navigate on their own and solve problems by themselves. They engage in many creative outlets, too.

2) Camp educates the whole child.

There is more to learning than test taking and achieving good grades. Camp offers one of the most powerful learning environments and can be a place where a child's social education takes place. It provides children with the opportunity to try new activities. When children succeed at these activities, they build self-esteem. Children also build social skills and problem- solving skills by being part of a supportive community and partaking in activities together. Campers are challenged and encouraged to grow every day.

3) Camp allows kids to unplug from technology.

Today's children spend more than 7.5 hours a day engaged with technology, which often takes the place of vital hands-on activities and socialization opportunities. The majority of summer camps ban most technology, including TV, smartphones, tablets, and personal computers. Taking a break from technology over the summer allows children to communicate face to face.

4) At camp, there's plenty of time for play, which helps children with social and emotional development.

Balancing school schedules, homework, and extracurricular activities doesn't leave much room for play. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reports that free and unstructured play is healthy and essential for helping children to reach important social, emotional, and cognitive developmental milestones. It also helps kids manage stress. Traditional summer camps give children plenty of play time, which leads to healthy emotional and social development.

5) Children can reinvent themselves at camp.

Students often attend school year after year with the same peers, which can lead to labeling and being "stuck" with a particular perception. A child may become known as studious, quiet, etc., when, really, he can be boisterous in another setting. Children who go to day or sleepaway camps meet a whole other group of people in a different environment. Often times, a child will break out of his supposed categorization if given the chance. Children get to reinvent themselves at camp and be who they truly want to be, which helps them to build confidence.

6) Camp promotes independence.

When children go to camp, they are given the opportunity to grow more independent. Whether for a day or an entire summer, separation from one's parents means a camper has to learn to rely on himself and other trusted adults and peers. Separation from parents gives a child the ability to think independently, which builds self-esteem.

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7 Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week

05/03/2019 12:00:00

Teacher Appreciation Week

Every year, the world gets together to celebrate the individuals who help shape our planet’s future: Teachers. Teacher Appreciation Week and various National Teacher Day‘s around the world are a time for us to #ThankATeacher and reflect on the importance good teachers make on students.

1. Gifts

The first way to celebrate your teachers is through gifts. Flowers, chocolates, jewelry and gift cards are all good gift ideas for teachers. To make gifts more meaningful, however, students and parents should personalize these gifts. Maybe give your teacher a gift card to a restaurant they’re brought up before. Or, create jewelry or something else by hand that reminds you of your time in their classroom. While purchased gifts are nice, any teacher will tell you they appreciate handmade gifts on Teacher Appreciation Day.

2. A Letter from the Students

In the spirit of handmade tokens of thanks, the second way you can thank teachers is with a letter. Younger students can create colorful cards and older students can type up honest letters of appreciation to their teachers. Make sure to highlight a specific instance when your teacher really helped you through a problem or helped you learn a difficult concept. Remember, some of the most important lessons teachers pass down to students aren’t academic lessons but life lessons. Don’t be afraid to really let your teachers know just how much they’ve positively impacted your life.

3.  A Letter from the Parents

Being a teacher is a difficult job. In most professions, you have to make one group happy. When you’re a teacher, you have to cater to three important groups: Students, administrators, and parents. On top of teaching, grading and keeping students entertained, parents know that teachers also have to keep them informed, calm their fears and address their concerns. Parents sharing their gratitude for a teacher’s never-ending efforts is a great way to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week.

4. Class  “Thank You” Book

One of the most touching gifts students can present their teachers on Teacher Appreciation Day is a class “Thank You” book. Websites like Shutterfly create great books, but handmade books will put a smile on your teacher’s face as well. This gift is the perfect place to have each student thank their teacher for teaching them something throughout the year. Here’s a great DIY instruction guide for a “Thank You” book.

5. Thanks from School Administration

It’s a big deal for students and parents to show their appreciation towards teachers. It’s also a big deal for the school administration to show their appreciation as well. Superintendents and principles should not forget to thank their teachers for all their hard work throughout the year. School administrators can often get busy with important school affairs other than their teachers. However, Teacher Appreciation Week is the perfect time to make time to appreciate teachers throughout your school and district. Maybe a special luncheon or announcement to the school is enough recognition for all the hard work your teachers put in throughout the year.

6. Classroom Supplies

Almost all teachers in public schools use their own money to purchase supplies for their classroom. A lot of the materials students use throughout the year like paper, crayons and markers are supplied by none other than their teachers. A great way to thank teachers not only for their instructional contributions but for their monetary contributions as well is to gift them with supplies they’ll need for the rest of the year or even for the next year. Thinking about what your teachers need and gifting those items is thoughtful and shows you really care about their contributions.

7. Contact the School Administration

One last way you can celebrate the teachers in your life, whether they are your teachers or your children’s teachers, is to contact the school administration. We know teaching is not an easy job, so when a teacher goes above and beyond, write to your school administration to share your praise of them. Different states and countries have different honors for teachers. Try nominating your teachers for an award in your area.

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