We’ve all been there. You have just finished the bedtime routine. The little ones are tucked in, you’ve read their favourite story but just as you get up to leave the room you hear: “I’m thirsty!”

Your heart sinks, you know they’re probably not thirsty but you’ve nurtured your toddler all this time and you don’t want to start neglecting their primary needs now!

So off you go to the kitchen to get them a drink. You sit with them while they drink the entire thing and start questioning how long it’ll be before they’re up for the loo.

Who knew bedtime could involve such negotiations? The newborn stage almost seems more appealing. It’s difficult to know whether your child is actually thirsty or whether they’re making every excuse they can think of to keep your attention. Who doesn’t want mummy or daddy’s attention? Never fear, you have a few options!

Options for dealing with water requests at bedtime

Keep a water bottle handy

The first and possibly the easiest option is putting a spill proof bottle of water next to your toddler’s bed, within their reach so they don’t have yet another reason to get out of bed!

Tell your child that if they’re thirsty, they can have a small drink themselves, replace the bottle back on the side and go back to sleep ‘like a big boy/girl’ without needing mummy/daddy.

This method means you don’t have to worry about your child being dehydrated and you don’t have to give in to their every whim when they call. This option is only possible if you believe your child is old enough to manage this without risking choking. This is done at your own discretion – I am unable to know your child’s abilities without further discussion.

Minimise Evening Fluid Intake

Another option and perhaps a better option if you’ve recently potty trained is to minimise evening fluid intake.

According to the Oxford University Hospital, NHS Trust, The Children’s Hospital, children should have a fluid intake as below:

  • 1-3 years 1litre
  • 4-8 years. 1.2litres
  • 9 years plus 1.5litres
  • The majority of this intake should be water.

So long as your child has a fluid intake of the above or more, you can rest assured that they shouldn’t be dehydrated in the evening or overnight.

Be clear and consistent with the ‘rules’

You could have a rule that the children don’t have water after bath time has begun. This allows children to drink as much as they would like during dinner and in the evening, but once bath time has started there is no more.

This should mean that any tantrums are had before bedtime begins and they can go to sleep feeling positive. So long as the child has been to the loo before they get into bed, they should then be able to hold their bladder until the morning (or until the early evening lift if potty training at night).

I hope these tips help those of you suffering the bedtime thirst. If you have any further questions or need any further help, don’t hesitate to get in touch.