Empowering Principle: Hydration

Jun 5, 2023

by Ashley Bennett, Director of Trauma-Informed Care

Water has never been something I’ve really loved to consume! I mean, I KNOW it’s good for you. It makes sense. I tell people they need to drink water. But, ugh, I’ll be the first to admit it’s never been much of a priority for me until recently. It’s just not as much fun as other beverage options!

But your body is over 60% water and your brain, over 75%!! Clearly, our bodies were designed to need hydration and being dehydrated can really affect our functioning. Being even mildly dehydrated can contribute to low energy, poor moods, anxiety, nervousness, depression, and trouble sleeping. 

For busy children and teens running around playing, attending school, and shuffling between activities, we can see how easy it would be for our children to neglect their hydration needs. They probably wouldn’t even think about it until they’re really thirsty-which is honestly too late because that means they are already dehydrated. Cue the more easily triggered moodiness, control battles, and tantrums!

It is recommended you drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily. TBRI principles recommend that you watch your child and make intentional time to hydrate every two hours. This keeps their (and your) brains and bodies in an optimal state from which to function. This alone can decrease behavioral challenges and increase positive interactions between us and our children. 

So bottom line, let’s hydrate ourselves and our children! 

You can even talk to your children about keeping an eye on their own hydration levels by observing the color of their urine. You can attach a chart to their bathroom mirror and help them learn to be more aware of their own bodies.

But it’s not enough to simply say to our children, “go drink more water.” We need to model it and do it alongside them! 

So, as summer begins I’ve bought each member of my family new water bottles, I’ve stocked the counter with water flavor packets, I’ve limited our consumption of liquids with meals to just water (and coffee….but that’s water right??), and I am prompting each of us to grab our bottles throughout the day as well as when we get in the car to go anywhere. 

Because getting your family to drink more water can be a challenge, see below for some tips and tricks!

Hydration Tips
Recommended water intake
Urine check image

*Hydration is one of the Empowering Principles of Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI®). TBRI®  is an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention that is designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children. TBRI® uses Empowering Principles to address physical needs, Connecting Principles for attachment needs, and Correcting Principles to disarm fear-based behaviors. Learn more about TBRI® here: https://child.tcu.edu/


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