Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How Much Should My Child Drink in a Day?

By: Christine Cox, The Choosy Mommy

Capri has always been my drink chugger. As soon as you hand her a drink, she drinks all of it. Then she usually asks for more, in which I oblige. It is rare that she leaves a cup with any kind of liquid in it. This goes for all drinks: water, milk, juice, smoothies, etc. I used to worry that she was drinking too much, especially when we were potty training. We were in the bathroom every 10 minutes! And then I would wonder if she was getting enough to drink since she was always chugging her drinks. My mind was going in so many directions. So I talked to our pediatrician.

There are many factors that come into play when discussing how much a child should drink in a day. Age, weight and even gender are considerations for determining the proper amount of liquid that a child needs. The weather, the child’s activity level, and the overall health of the child are also reasons for drinking more or less.

According to Reliant Medical Group, toddlers who weigh the following should drink, on average, this amount of water and milk in a day to stay properly hydrated:
  • Children age 1, weighing 30 pounds or less need to drink 32 to 40 ounces
  • Children 31 to 41 pounds need to drink 40 to 48 ounces 
  • Children 42 to 63 pounds need to drink 48 to 56 ounces 
Remember that our bodies are made up of nearly 60% water. Children (age 1 and up) need to drink plain, unflavored water daily to keep their organs functioning properly. Newborns and infants obtain their daily fluid intake from breastmilk or formula and do not require additional water. Please discuss this further with your pediatrician if you have any concerns with your child who is under 1 as drinking water can be very dangerous for newborns and infants.

Pediatricians also advise parents to serve only 100% fruit juice because of the sugar and extra calories in sweetened juices or juice cocktails. To ensure your children aren't drinking too much juice, follow these guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
  • Birth to 6 months: No fruit juice, unless it's used to relieve constipation.
  • 6 to 12 months: Limit juice intake to 4 to 6 ounces and serve it in a cup (not a bottle) to avoid tooth decay. (According to AAP.org, babies should drink breastmilk or formula for the first year of life. Try to avoid introducing juice until child is a toddler. If juice is introduced, wait until 6-9 months and limit consumption to 4-6 ounces a day).
  • 1 to 6 years: Up to 6 ounces per day, again in a cup, not a bottle.
  • 7 years and older: Up to 12 ounces a day.
While the total amount of water that children should be drinking in a day seems high, we need to remember that fruit and vegetables contain water too. Think of what your children eat in a day to help determine the correct amount they need to drink. And if they are highly active one day compared other days, they may need more to drink than usual.

If you are concerned your child is drinking too much, or too little, try to chart the amount your child eats and drinks in a week and discuss the topic with your pediatrician.

When it came to my daughter, I chalked her drinking habits up to being highly active. Her urine output and color were always normal for her and her skin was not dry at all; three highly noticeable sign of dehydration. Anytime she asks for a drink, I provide her with one, no matter if it is morning, noon or night. I know a lot of parents try to stop offering fluids at a certain time when nighttime potty training. Please take into consideration how active your child was all day before declining your child a drink at night.

If you need to help your children get excited about drinking, check out our song from the My Wiggle Makes Me Giggle CD, My Choosy Cup.

Do you provide easy access to water all day? Do your children drink a lot of water? How much, on average, would you say they drink in a day?

About the Author: Christine Cox is the blog master for Choosy Kids and owner of The Choosy Mommy. She has always had a passion for writing and is honored to contribute her work to this blog. Most of her writing inspiration comes from her daughter, Capri, who is fun-loving and full of energy, and son Cam, who is learning new things everyday. Click here to learn more about Christine.


  1. I've never really tracked how much water my children drink. I would be curious to see how it adds up. My son definitely drinks way more than my daughter. We don't do any juice though except for special events, birthdays, etc.

  2. That is a good idea with the juice. Then it really is special!

  3. C drinks water all day long! I'm sure he drinks double this at least. The boy loves his water!

  4. I am pretty sure our little guy gets close to the recommended number but now that I know, I'll be sure to make him drink a bit more to meet that goal.


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