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To think it's primary school teacher's responsibility to ensure children drink during the day?

352 replies

LondonGrimmer · 17/01/2022 16:38

Happy to be told otherwise. Child is in year 3. Frequently comes out pale, lethargic and today with stomach cramps. Transpires his full water bottle was still in his backpack so hadn't drank all day again (8.45 - 3.15) and he doesn't have a drink at lunch time either. He's an introvert who struggles with anxiety at times if that makes any difference.

Yes I have tried to explain to him the importance of staying hydrated and tell him he should try really hard to remember. I emailed the teacher last year and she said she'll try and remember to remind him (there are 23 kids in the class and one TA so I know they have their hands full).

Just frustrated and not sure if I'm being unreasonable?

YABU - your child is 7 or 8 and fully responsible for taking his water bottle out each day and remembering to drink.

YANBU - the teacher/TA should be helping more.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

2089 votes. Final results.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
owlsanctuarydate · 17/01/2022 16:39

YABU. It's not the teacher's job, assuming no SEN.

JDaytona · 17/01/2022 16:39

I'd say for a 4-5 yo the teacher should be prompting them.

But definitely not for a 7-8 yo!

LondonGrimmer · 17/01/2022 16:42

He has previously been on the radar for SEN / had an IEP for anxiety/selective mutism traits but not any more.

OP posts:
CorrBlimeyGG · 17/01/2022 16:42

Do you know the source of the anxiety? If he's worried about going to the toilet at school, then he'll deliberately not drink to avoid it. In that case, no amount of reminders will help. Try to get him to explain what he's anxious about, then if need be the teacher will be involved in managing/ overcoming that.

ouch321 · 17/01/2022 16:42


waterrat · 17/01/2022 16:42

Sorry op I have an anxious child who comes out of school in this state too but YABU. How could she possibly add this to her busy day looking after and teaching so many children.

We all went thr whole school day without water . If he drinks a cup of water going in first thing he will survive. There are water taps in the playground and surely at a certain point children need to learn to respond to their own thirst.

waterrat · 17/01/2022 16:43

Could you teach him triggers like making sure he takes water with his lunch?

Dixiechickonhols · 17/01/2022 16:44

No I don’t think they can keep an eye on if every child has a drink. He may prefer to just drink at lunchtime when supervised by welfare staff for all she knows.
He’s old enough to know to drink. I’d think something else is going on eg mine didn’t drink as she didn’t want hassle of toilets at one point.
I think I’d speak to school if it’s daily and try and work with them eg can you send a drink he likes for lunch and a welfare assistant check he’s had it or he’s got to show teacher empty bottle after lunch etc.

LondonGrimmer · 17/01/2022 16:44


Do you know the source of the anxiety? If he's worried about going to the toilet at school, then he'll deliberately not drink to avoid it. In that case, no amount of reminders will help. Try to get him to explain what he's anxious about, then if need be the teacher will be involved in managing/ overcoming that.

@CorrBlimeyGG yes not wanting to use the toilet during the day was a big part of it, but he's overcome that mostly now.

I have been reading about interoception lately and wonder if he struggles with that at times.
OP posts:
QueenofLouisiana · 17/01/2022 16:45

I barely remember to drink myself during the day. I really don’t notice what the children are drinking. I do keep an eye on those with SEN, others I’d expect to get a drink if they are thirsty.
Can you imagine what parents would say if we stopped teaching for half an hour to make sure each child had had a drink? And obviously, if we check with one child we would be expected to check everyone else.

oatlattetogo · 17/01/2022 16:45

YABU, I’m afraid. Perhaps a general prompt to the entire class in the morning that they can go and get their bottles and put them on their desks/by the sink etc. but not for individual children unless there is SEN or medical reasons why he needs to be reminded. I am surprised he’s not getting thirsty though.

If he has a packed lunch could you put a carton of juice or small extra bottle of water/squash in there as a reminder?

BiggerBoat1 · 17/01/2022 16:45

Why doesn't he drink at lunchtime?

This is really not the teacher's responsibility. Your DS needs to remember to have a drink.

VioletLemon · 17/01/2022 16:45

It could be very embarrassing for your DC if the teacher is constantly reminding them to drink water. Usually DC's have a water bottle and sip through day but not all schools do this. He maybe avoiding going to visit the toilet, I'd be keen to investigate why... Maybe someone is upsetting him, perhaps he's not comfortable going in public.. Worth a quiet chat.

MichelleScarn · 17/01/2022 16:46

Yabu sadly, what happens at home, do you need to remind of this?

Disneyblueeyes · 17/01/2022 16:46


LondonGrimmer · 17/01/2022 16:47

I think it's the fact his bottle stays in his bag all day. It should be in the classroom. Not too hard to count 23 water bottles whilst doing the register, surely? (could even make it a fun job for one of the children to do).

Ok, I'll accept IABU Grin

OP posts:
sadpapercourtesan · 17/01/2022 16:48

I'm a primary teacher, and if a parent of a child with anxiety issues had asked me to make sure her son had a drink during the day, I would do so.

I dislike the encroaching idea that teachers are there purely to attend to academic matters and have no caring role whatsoever - that's dangerous, with young children. The teacher is in loco parentis. There are, of course, limits - I won't generally agree to things like "can you make sure she doesn't lose her new pink pencil" - but basic care, like a child with known shyness/anxiety and a history of mutism not speaking up when he's thirsty, then that is absolutely part of the teacher's role. Children build up self-care skills gradually and at different rates, and the adults around them need to support and scaffold those developing skills - that's part of education at this age.

HavfrueDenizKisi · 17/01/2022 16:48

Really? You have to be kidding. Teachers are there to teach. They already do a whole heap of pastoral care. Now they need to help your pfb remember that he is thirsty? I've heard it all now.

TragoCardboardCopper · 17/01/2022 16:48

DD is in reception and I can't rely on her to remember her drink, so I make sure I put it in her hand as she goes into the classroom. I wouldn't expect the teacher or TA to have time to check she has it and is drinking from it.
In 3 years time I would definitely expect her to remember to take her bottle out her bag, or to go and get it if she forgets first thing.
I am very introverted so do get the fear of being 'noticed' but surely there's oppourtunity for them to get it at break or lunch without having to ask to get it?

Even more importantly, my shyness can be crippling. It's massively detrimental in things like job interviews and meetings, making friendships, spoken exams - that kind of thing. There's being naturally introverted, which is fair enough, and then there's massively disadvantaging myself through shyness/fear. I'm definitely in the second camp and wish I'd got over it somehow when I was at school - I've no idea how, I'm afraid, or if do it for myself! But please be aware that shyness to the degree they're making themselves ill rather than putting a hand up to ask to fetch their bottle is really not good, I think I'd try to work on the cause (shyness) rather than the symptom (not drinking) if that makes sense?

Hopefully someone introverted who has tackled their shyness will be able to advise you and me

Clarkey86 · 17/01/2022 16:50

I’m a teacher and whilst I agree with everyone else that there’s not enough time in the day to be reminding children of this, if a parent had particular worries about their child I absolutely would (and have because he’s not the only one don’t worry!) make sure I reminded them at key points (play and lunch) when everyone is going to get coats on - at least for a week or so to get them in a habit.

LondonGrimmer · 17/01/2022 16:51

He has school dinners. Doesn't drink the water in the hall as he and his brother say the cups are always dirty.

I know they have a basket next to the sink in the classrooms for everyone's water bottles to go in and they're allowed to help themselves throughout the day.

I wouldn't expect a teacher to take 30 mins a day to remind everyone, no. But if a parent has expressed concerns around this about their child, and why they're worried (lack of attention span affecting learning due to dehydration in the afternoon being one) and the teacher has emailed back saying they'll do their best to gently/quietly remind him as often as she can then yes, I guess I did expect that tbh.

OP posts:
LethargicActress · 17/01/2022 16:52

Teachers should remind the class as a whole to get a drink in Y3, but it’s then up to them if they do it or not. The teacher can’t monitor the water intake of all the children.

If you’re dropping your ds off, can’t you make sure the bottle is in his hand instead of in the bag to help him remember what he’s supposed to do?


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EarringsandLipstick · 17/01/2022 16:52

Yes, YABcompletelyU

I'm also really surprised he is so adversely affected by not drinking water.

Of course he should be, ideally. But all of mine have come out with full water bottles & are fine

I think you need to work with him to drink at each break eg small break / water / snack, then main lunch bread, water / sandwich (I'm in Ireland so breaktimes & what they are called may be different. But basic principle the same).

Clarkey86 · 17/01/2022 16:52

Just to add - my reception child drinks barely anything from her water bottle but I know she drinks with lunch so I’m not worried about it really. If you can get him to drink with lunch that would be a big help. There will literally be a cup of water poured in front of him as that’s how most primary schools set out the tables so he really can’t miss it! Are you absolutely sure he’s not drinking anything?

YouWereGr8InLittleMenstruators · 17/01/2022 16:53

A kid in my class has a sticker on her transparent water bottle about half way down and another sticker 3/4 of the way to the bottom. The first one is her 'bare minimum' sticker and the second sticker is the 'brilliant' sticker, and there is some kind of incentive or reward depending on where the water level is at the end of the day.
To my knowledge, she doesn't cheat and pour it down the sink Grin

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