Is your child getting enough water? Especially when they are away at school?
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has guidelines about how much fluid children need – as a general rule of thumb, children aged between 4 to 13 should aim to drink approximately 6-8 glasses of fluid a day, with younger children needing relatively smaller servings (e.g. 150 ml for a 4-year-old and 250 ml for an older child).
To address this concern and inculcate the habit of consuming an adequate amount of water, Kerala schools started a rather unique practice. During school hours, a bell is rung thrice to remind students to pick up their bottles and drink some water.
Here’s your chance to set an alarm and consume enough water through the day. Get yourself a glass bottle right here!
Taking a cue from this, Karnataka’s Primary Education Minister Suresh Kumar announced that all private and aided schools in the state will also have a water bell that will ring three times during school hours to remind students to consume water.
The origins of the ‘water-bell’
Almost two years ago it was Jenil John, a Physical Education teacher at St. Joseph’s Upper Primary School, located in Irinjalakuda who came up with the idea of introducing the water bell. According to an interview he gave The Print, he speaks about why he felt the need to introduce the water bell.
John says, “The video was of a boy who faints after not drinking water despite feeling thirsty. He develops a severe stomach-ache and a water bottle provided by the teacher and a school announcement makes the child realise the importance of drinking water. That is when we thought why not introduce a water bell just before the interval.”
What’s heartening is how several other states have taken to this concept. Following Kerala, other states, like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Odisha, have also started to implement the water bell concept in their schools.
Indraprastha Vidyalaya in Uppinangady, in the Dakshina Kannada district, was the first school to implement this concept in Karnataka. The Better India caught up with Principal M J Jose to understand how this is being implemented.
Jose says, “We were getting a lot of feedback from parents that their children would return home with water bottles completely untouched and that was what prompted us to take this decision.” He goes on, “We implemented this at school almost three months ago and this rule is applicable for all classes; from our nursery children to the senior classes. In fact, not just the students, even the teachers and staff at school have been diligently following this rule.”
Speaking about how they go about this, he says, “Just like there is a bell for everything else, we have three bells rung during the day for water consumption as well.”
The first bell is rung at 10.35 a.m. followed by one at noon and then at 2.00 p.m. every day.
He says, “The complaints that we used to get from students and parents about frequent headaches, and pain in the stomach have reduced considerably after the implementation of this rule.”
Of course, it is not compulsory to drink the water each time the bell rings. But it is felt that such reminders would encourage students to have a sip, and perhaps begin a popular trend.
Taking a cue from the southern states, as of November 25, all the schools of Ganjam district, which includes government, private and anganwadis will follow the water bell.
Speaking to The Better India, Vijay Amruta Kulange, Collector, Ganjam Odisha says, “The habit of drinking water on time is very important for children. Many times during their study time and also while playing students forget to have sufficient water, which creates kidney stone problems, stomach problems and also skin diseases. In keeping all this in mind, we thought it would be beneficial to start a water bell in anganwadis and schools, thrice a day.”
Ways to encourage consumption of water for your kids:
- Try and get children to start their day with a glass of water
- Make a concerted effort to get them to consume water before they leave the house for their playtime
- Even in between their playtime ensure that they sip on water from time to time
- Include fruits and vegetables with a higher fluid content into their diet
- When you step out of the house always ensure that you carry a bottle of water with you
Here’s hoping all states across the country introduce these timely reminders. On that note, do get yourself a glass of water right away!
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)