Kids eat right.

Water: How Much Do Kids Need?

Reviewed by Esther Ellis, MS, RDN, LDN
Girl at a drinking fountain - Water: How Much Do Kids Need?

Jaimie Duplass/Hemera/Thinkstock

Water is one of the body's most essential nutrients. People may survive six weeks without any food, but they couldn't live more than a week or so without water. That's because water is the cornerstone for all body functions. It's the most abundant substance in the body, averaging 60 percent of body weight. It helps keep body temperature constant at about 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, and it transports nutrients and oxygen to all cells and carries waste products away. Water helps maintain blood volume, and it helps lubricate joints and body tissues such as those in the mouth, eyes and nose.

How Much Water Do Kids Need?

The daily amount of water that a child needs depends on factors such as age, weight and sex. Tweet this Air temperature, humidity, activity level and a person's overall health affect daily water requirements, too. The chart below can help you identify about how many cups of water your child or teen needs each day. These recommendations are set for generally healthy kids living in temperate climates; therefore, they might not be exact for your child or teen.

The amount of water that your child or teen needs each day might seem like a lot, but keep in mind that the recommendations in the chart are for total water, which includes water from all sources: drinking water, other beverages and food. Fruits and vegetables have a much higher water content than other solid foods. This high water content helps keep the calorie level of fruits and vegetables low while their nutrient level remains high — another great reason for kids to eat more from these food groups.

Kids Total Daily Beverage and Drinking Water Requirements

Age Range Gender Total Water (Cups/Day)
4 to 8 years Girls and Boys 7
9 to 13 years Girls 9
  Boys 10
14 to 18 years Girls 10
  Boys 14

Data are from Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) Tables. Recommended Daily Allowance and Adequate Intake Values: Total Water and Macronutrients.