It’s cold and grey outside which is not always conducive to drinking water and staying properly hydrated, but it’s essential that we encourage our children to take frequent trips to the water cooler during their school day. We all want them to be happy and healthy, and ensuring that includes paying particular attention to their water intake throughout the year – even in the colder months.

Illness aside, while the daily intake may vary according to a child’s weight and activity levels, the recommended intake is between five and eight cups of water per day. As with adults, if children are not drinking enough during the day, it may lead to dehydration – the effects of which include muscle weakness, dry mouth, headaches and fatigue. But because these symptoms are harder to recognize in children, it’s essential to pre-empt the condition; and the best way to do that is to keep a water cooler close by and make drinking water part of their daily routine.

While milk and juice all count towards hydration, the healthiest option still remains water in its purest form. Teaching children to enjoy drinking water is a healthy habit that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives. Ways to encourage and embed the habit of drinking water is to offer it to them at regular intervals during the day: as a way to start their school day, get them to visit the water cooler en route to their desks – in addition to the physical health benefits, research also shows that being properly hydrated helps children concentrate better; similarly each time they have a snack or a meal, encourage them to top up their water bottle or glass; and at the end of the day too before they leave for home.

Teach them the importance of proper hydration and how it benefits their bodies, and remember also that children learn by example, so make sure they see you drinking from the water cooler throughout the day too – happy and healthy teachers make for happy and healthy children.