Do you ever wonder when you should start giving your child water? Or what can you do to convince them to drink plain water? Or how to recognize the signs of dehydration? Well, if so, you are on the right page! You will find below everything there is to know about hydration in children.

The first thing that is important to remember is that babies can be introduced to regular water for the first time at around 6 months old. Before that, breastmilk or formula provides enough fluid to keep your child hydrated.

It is recommended that you avoid juices, sodas or any type of sugary drinks at the beginning and prioritize plain water. It is the healthier choice because it doesn’t contain any calories and is better for their growing bodies.  

If you feel lost on the amount of water you should give to your child, here is a guideline from the American Academy of Pediatrics on the amount of water recommended by age range for children:

Age Range

Amount of water recommended

6 months – 1 year old

4-8 ounces/day (about 0.1-0.2L/day)

1-3 years old

4 cups/day (about 1L/day) *

4-8 years old

5 cups/day (about 1.25L/day) *

9+ years old

7-8 cups/day (about 1.7-2L/day) *

*Milk included

Keep in mind that your child’s needs can depend on the heat or their level of exercise as those factors increase the amount of water needed to stay hydrated.

What can I do if my child refuses to drink water?

There exist a few tips to trick your child into drinking water and to convince them that it is the better choice:

  • Set the example: your child tends to reproduce what is shown to them and you are their best role model!
  • Accessorize or let them choose a fun water bottle: They can bring it with them everywhere and it can even become their new essential fashion item!
  • Change the flavor: by adding fresh fruits (but not syrups or sugar) you can make water a little more fun!

What are the signs or dehydration?

Here are the easily recognizable signs of dehydration in children:

  • a dry or sticky mouth
  • few or no tears when crying
  • eyes that look sunken
  • in babies, the soft spot (fontanelle) on top of the head looks sunken
  • peeing less or fewer wet diapers than usual
  • crankiness
  • drowsiness or dizziness


If your child has any of these symptoms for a long period of time, it is recommended that you contact your pediatrician (especially, if your child is suffering from diarrhea or is vomiting).