Follow parentsjourney on TwitterIt is imperative for people, young and old alike, to have adequate daily fluid intake for proper hydration. This is necessary for normal body functioning and immunity to diseases as discussed in item # 3 of Parenting Journey blog entitled ‘Top 6 Natural Immunity Builders for Kids’.

There are many healthy fluid sources available everywhere, but still you may find that people, especially school children, often do not reach the minimum requirement. Getting so busy and preoccupied with school work, socialization with peers and other extracurricular activities leave them oblivious of this health concern. Here is where parents come in.

Though the consequences of inadequate fluid intake may not be fatal in most circumstances, there are definite short term and long term negative impacts on our children’s health. Some known effects of inadequate hydration in children are frequent headache, constipation and impaired cognitive function. Vulnerability to common diseases like flu, cough and colds are very likely because of weakened immunity.

As promised in the above-mentioned blog, I will be sharing the results of an ‘experiment’ we did on finding ways to improve the daily water intake of our school kids. So much time and effort was spent on this endeavor but so many lessons were learned in the process and lots of gratification in the outcome.

Some Background

Let me begin by specifying the fluid sources of my school children. A glass or mug is at least 180 ml. Our school kids, ages 9 and 7 years old, drink 1 glass of milk in the morning and another one in the evening. Half a mug of lemongrass tea and one glass of water (together with their vitamin C supplement in tablet form) are taken in the morning. In school, 1 glass of choco milk is consumed for snacks but the half liter drinking water goes back home often barely touched. One glass of juice or iced tea and 1 cup of soup are the usual consumption at dinnertime. It looks like a lot but still inadequate because of low water intake while in school.

I feel so upset looking at their water bottles every afternoon when they get home for I know that the minimum daily fluid requirement was not met. Based on their weight they should consume about 1.6L of fluid per day. To know the fluid requirement of your child based on weight, here is the link for your reference.

With the objective of ensuring that our school kids are properly hydrated for better health and immunity, this journey began.

The experiment

I initiated making a water intake chart using post-its so it can be easily attached on our refrigerator door. It is a simple table where we could record the amount of water we drink, a sort of score sheet. Only the intake of pure water is ‘scored’ because that’s where the inadequacy was identified. Our son provided the pencil and was asked to make sure it is always available near the refrigerator (he tends to take it with him and usually gets misplaced). Everything else evolved beautifully from this beginning.


My husband asked my daughter to summarize the data every end of our ‘water week’, which falls on a Wednesday. She was taught the concept of averaging and how it is applied in real situations. She was advised to use long-hand in her computations…no calculator. My husband even made it more difficult for her by recording different fractions of glasses so she can practice mathematical operations with unlike fractions. My daughter survived the challenge and even volunteered to do the next score sheets.

At the end of our first week, we were surprised that even we adults did not meet the minimum daily requirement of 8 glasses. Our children’s quota is 6 glasses a day. The next week saw us falling short again of our target. It was even lower on the third week because everybody got busy that time. I knew it was not easy but I didn’t think it would be this challenging!

Because enough data were already available, my daughter was now asked to make a graph to plot the data for us to clearly see the trend. Very few directives were given to her and hurray her first graph was made! Here is the graph she made:

Looking at the trends, we decided that it’s time to make a change. A meeting was held after one dinner. The importance of water in humans was reiterated, the data were discussed and resolutions were made.

The first strategy was to give a reward (but not specified) for the person(s) who can reach the target. As it became a contest, our quite competitive daughter surely reached her target but didn’t quite care about the performance of the rest, not even to check on our faithfulness to record when we drink. Failure to record was a significant reason in some drops in the averages.

It was obvious that we had to modify the criteria for winning a reward to make sure that everyone would benefit. So I suggested putting emphasis on team effort and changing the reward system to enhance teamwork. That is, all four of us need to meet the target average for the week so that we’ll get rewarded as a team. The first reward is to watch ‘A Christmas Carol’ in the movie house. Because we seldom do this, everybody was thrilled with the thought.

Other resolutions made were as follows:
1) We started to modify our drinking habits. Fruit juice and iced tea were eliminated during meal time in favor of pure water. This is a triple benefit because we also reduced our sugar intake and lessen our expenses with this move.
2) Because we fail to record our consumption at times, we resolved that each one of us will remind one another about it.
3) The children gave their commitment to be conscious about water intake even while in school.

With all the above resolutions, the following week saw a significant rise but still the criterion for the reward to be granted was not met. When the showing date of the movie we want to watch drew closer, the pressure mounted. And just this Wednesday, on the seventh week after we began the experiment, we finally did it-- all points were above the horizontal lines representing the target!

So happily, we declared that on Saturday, all of us will be in the movie house to reap the reward for our success as a team in an endeavor that was started to make us healthier but ended up making us wiser and happier as well. CHEERS!

glass of water photo courtesy of stockvault.net

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4 comments
  1. fabgirl November 26, 2009 at 7:26 PM  

    bravo! this is so smart. very heplful healthy tips for moms like me.

  2. elsa November 26, 2009 at 11:45 PM  

    tama talaga yan ate phine, yon yong ginagawa ko kina regine ngayon lalo na at mainit na dito sa amin. laking tulong talaga yong blog nyo ate phine.Salamat at na i share nyo sa amin ito..

  3. Lita C. Malicdem January 31, 2010 at 2:45 PM  

    Mama Sez, you have a magic touch as a teacher for initiating such experiment. Involving even a child must be tough but with efficient monitoring Papa Sez and you have instilled not only the purpose of the study but more of unity in the family. Parenting is really an exciting journey. Congratulations.

  4. Mama Sez February 5, 2010 at 2:46 AM  

    Wow, a complement coming from a teacher herself, thanks so much Ms Lita. I really appreciate you visiting me here on Blogspot. We are continuously monitor our water intake except during the busy holidays :)

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About Us (circa 2009)

Our journey led us to this place. A little more than 10 years ago we began our journey as husband and wife. Three years later, we found ourselves with two bundles of joy- a daughter and then a son. They're the children we've dreamed of having.

About five years since the birth of our son, an unexpected gift came- a younger brother to our school-age kids. And soon enough, a baby girl arrived to round the family membership.

Brave was a term used by a friend to describe us. Challenging... and loving it -- yeah, this journey is not for the faint of heart.