Preparing to Learn – Hydration

Our third preparing to learn blog post will highlight the health benefits of staying properly hydrated, and how hydration can impact our ability to learn and focus.

Hydration

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It is well known that the human body is made up of mostly water, with estimates ranging between 50%-80%. Since we are constantly losing water throughout the day through perspiration, waste excretion, and even breathing, we need to consume adequate fluids to replenish ourselves so that our bodies and minds can thrive. Although guidelines about the amount and type of liquid one should drink vary, there is agreement across the board that proper hydration is immeasurably important for our physical and mental health.

As a parent, ensuring that your child drinks plenty of water every day is probably one of the most beneficial things you can do for their health. There are numerous studies that have outlined the ways in which dehydration can impair the functions of the brain which can lead to problems with memory and concentration, and increase the likelihood of fatigue and anxiety. Dehydration has also been linked with an increased risk of headaches and other health issues, all of which adversely affect a students ability to absorb information and participate well in a learning environment.

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Dehydration can be detrimental to a students ability to participate in extra-curricular activities as well as in the classroom. If your child has an active after-school schedule, it is even more important that they stay well hydrated in order to prevent injuries, fatigue, and heat-stroke. This is especially true during the summer months, or if your child is participating in physical activities for long periods of time. Making sure your child is drinking lots of water before, during, and after being active is a great way to help them get the most out of every part of their day.

Filtered water is generally the most beneficial fluid to consume, but if children are reluctant to drink lots of plain water giving them alternatives that they enjoy like unsweetened juices, milk, herbal teas, and smoothies can make re-hydrating yummy for the whole family. This article from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides some easy-to-follow tips on making sure you stay hydrated throughout the day. This animated video also provides an explanation to help young children understand why drinking lots of water is so important.

Although in extreme circumstances there is a risk of over-hydration, this should generally not be of concern unless you or your child is participating in extreme sports, or has other health complications. In general, we advise all parents to do their own research to find out what beverages work best for their families.