Hoorah the sun is here!! If there is one thing us Brits' love it's the summer sun. Ahh, what a change from the gloomy mornings, grey days and cold, dark evenings. However, what us Brits' tend not to be so good at is coping with summer! And we seem to pass this inability down to our children while we worry about how to keep our little people cool during extreme heat.
Extreme heat? Ok well it’s extreme for us Brits' anyway...
All too often we make decisions that, unbeknown to us, are so dangerous and potentially fatal. With that in mind I have compiled a list of Do's & Don'ts, Fun Activities, Night Time Cooling Tips and Tips for Babies.
Do's & Don'ts
- Keep Hydrated
DO Make sure your children have plenty of fluids to stop them becoming dehydrated. Ice lollies, bought or homemade, diluted juice and flavoured ice cubes are a great way to do this as well as drinking water.
Diluted juice on tap. Perfect for older children as they can access this themselves.
For breast fed babies you won’t need to give them water too but they may want feeding more often.
Bottled fed babies and babies whom are being weaned onto solids will be able to have cooled boiled water in their usual bottle.
Fruit and salad are also great for older children to help keep hydrated.
DO NOT wait until your child tells you they are thirsty. By this time they are already getting dehydrated. Keep their fluids topped up all day.
- Sun Cream and Sun Hat
DO apply sun cream. According to the NHS children should be wearing a MINIMUM of SPF 15 sun cream, that said many manufacturers have a children’s range of sun creams with much higher SPF with better protection from UV rays.
DO make sure your child is wearing a sun hat. Hats with a large brim or a long flap at the back are ideal as they provide cover for their neck.
It is NOT recommended that babies under 6 months old should be in the direct sun light. Ideally we SHOULD NOT be outside in the sun during the hours of 11am and 3pm as this is when the sun is at its hottest.
- Light Clothing
DO Dress your children appropriately.
They DO NOT need layers on in the hot weather.
Fitted, tight clothing can be stressful for us grown-ups when we are hot yet we are able to adjust ourselves and get comfortable. For children this is more difficult and for babies impossible. Light, loose and floaty clothing is perfect.
We all like to kick our shoes off in the heat but DO NOT let your children run around outside with no shoes on. Floor coverings such as tarmac, paving slaps, concrete and decking will be too hot for the delicate skin on their little feet.
Allow young children to have as much nappy free time as possible.
- Sun Parasol
For those with little ones in pushchairs or pram’s, investing in a parasol is invaluable. It’s more than your monies worth. They keep your littlun out of the sun and still allow a breeze to get to them. DO purchase one.
DO NOT put a blanket, muslin cloth or any other type of covering over the pram or pushchair. The heat that generates underneath it matches that of being left in a car in the sun with the windows shut. It is incredibly dangerous.
- Paddling Pool
DO allow water play in a paddling pool. Children can have hours of fun splashing around with the water keeping them cool the whole time.
DO NOT put the pool in the sun. The water will get too hot for the children to play in.
Here are 5 water-and-ice play ideas
- Paddling Pool
- Add ball pit balls to the water
- Fishing or hook a duck games are also great fun (these can usually be purchased in pound shops)
- Turn the sprinkler on the kids will love running in and out of it
- Homemade splash pad
- Put the sprinkler on some tarpooline (do you see what I did there ;)) and they have their own splash pad to slide around on.
- Surprise Frozen Eggs
- Hide small dinosaur toys, some plastic jewellery (almost anything goes) and freeze them.
- Once frozen, help the children peel the balloon off and leave them to work out how to get the toy out.
- Water Balloon Piñata
- As well as the old school water balloon fun try tying a few full balloons to a piece of string, give the children a stick and, well, let them whack the balloons till the pop!
Sleeping in the heat is borderline impossible. Then just as we get to sleep a child strolls in crying because they too are sticky and hot and can’t sleep.
Here are my 3 tips to a little more comfort at night:
- Take the duvet out of the duvet cover. Leave you and your children with just the sheet.
- Keep windows open. I know this can be a worry in children’s rooms so if you are able to lock them open this is what I recommend. If this is not possible, leave their bedroom door open and invest in a fan. Whilst some can give off a bit of noise this is normally more bearable than being too hot. Let’s face it, when kids are tired they will sleep through most noise.
- NO pyjamas. No shorts, not vest tops, just pants or a nappy will suffice.
I hope you have found these tips and pointers useful. If you think of anything I have missed or you have your own special way of doing things please feel free to share in the comments. Your thoughts and responses are greatly appreciated.