7 Bright Ideas to Keep Squirmy Kids Sun-Safe!
Spending time outdoors with the kids is great, isn’t it? One of the key benefits is getting Vitamin D, the essential nutrient for building strong and healthy bones. Plus, you get to stay physically fit too!
However, children’s skin is more sensitive to sunlight than grown-ups’ skin. And regardless of skin colour, the risk of sun damage is very real. The fact that, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), “most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light” isn’t to be taken lightly.
Applying sunscreen on squirmy kids can be a challenge! If you’re thinking about clever ways to get your little ones to slap on some SPF, here are seven ideas for you.
1. Make it Fun!
Let your kids use sunscreen to “paint” each other with their favourite Oddbods character; set up a game of “Who can hold their breath the longest?” when you’re spraying sunscreen from top to toe; get them to sing to their favourite tunes during application… The options are endless.
The point is to make applying sunscreen less of a chore and more of an awesome bonus “game” before playtime outdoors – just the way fun-loving Pogo likes it.
2. Entice Them With Extra Time Outside
Reward your child with an extra 10 minutes of playtime if they slap on some sunscreen before going outside.
“If you put on sunscreen, you’ll get 10 more minutes at the beach.” It sounds simple, but rewarding your child with little “prizes” just might work. Who knows? With such incentives in place, you may not even have to remind them when it comes to sunscreen time. It’s a win-win for all!
3. Give Them Choices
It’s not about asking the kids if they want sunscreen on or not, but it’s about letting them have some say in the process.
It could be something seemingly trivial, like having them choose where they’d like to be in the house when you help them apply sunscreen. This way, it won’t seem like you’re totally telling them what to do.
Giving them some form of control lets them assert their own sense of autonomy. This is ideal for kids just like “too cool” Slick, who doesn’t want his parents fussing over sunscreen.
4. Experiment With Different Types of Sunscreen
Some formulas are sticky but easy to rub on, while others absorb easily and are cooling. Find out what type of sunscreen feels best for your child. Photo from: BATCH by Wisconsin Hemp Scientific
Speaking of letting your child have some say in the process, different kinds of sunscreen work for different people.
If lotion form feels extremely sticky, naturally your child would feel uncomfortable and might not be keen to put on SPF at all, especially if they’re going to be outside and possibly sweating buckets.
Try a variety of sunscreen types – funky coloured, mess-proof sticks (something sweet-natured, pink-obsessed Newt would appreciate), creamy lotions, refreshing fine mists, lightweight gels – and then ask them what feels best.
Just make sure you always use a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 to play safe.
5. Create Routines and Mottos Early On
Firstly, make using sunscreen a habit as early as possible (you can start as long as they’re older than six months of age).
Secondly, come up with a motto, such as “Wearing sunscreen means I get to play outside”, and use this to help establish that good lifelong habit of applying sunscreen.
Have your child repeat those words as they get ready and are excited to head outside so they learn to associate one thing with the other.
6. Take Turns
Once you’re done helping your child put on sunscreen, get them to do it for you!
This is an easy way to make this a family activity where everyone can have fun with sunscreen.
7. Learn to Accessorise
Bring a hooded towel to wrap your little one up with comfort and warmth, while shading them from the harmful sun rays.
Don’t forget that aside from SPF and spending time in the shade when the sun’s at its hottest, there are loads of other things you can use to protect your child from the sun, including hats, sunglasses, swimsuits and long-sleeve tees with built-in UV protection.
Best of all? When it comes to shopping for these items, the kiddos will love picking out their favourite looks and designs!