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Beat the Heat: 6 Ways to Help Your Child Stay Cool and Comfortable

As the temperatures rise and the summer heat sets in, it's important to make sure that your child stays cool and comfortable. Heat can have various effects on children, including discomfort, dehydration, and increased risk of heat-related illnesses. Here are six practical tips to incorporate into your routine to help your child beat the heat and enjoy the summer safely.

Hydration is Key

Encourage your child to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Hydration is important to prevent dehydration, especially in hot weather. If your child doesn’t drink water that often, try out these techniques to encourage them:

Top Tips

  • Provide a water bottle and remind your child to take regular sips, even if they don't feel thirsty. A fun, colorful, or personalized water bottle can make drinking water more exciting for your child

  • Adding a burst of flavor to plain water by infusing it with their favorite fruits or herbs can also help kids look forward to staying hydrated

  • Include water-rich fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon, oranges, strawberries, grapes, cucumbers, and celery, in their diet to boost hydration even further

  • Sucking on ice cubes does not hydrate kids, but it is also a great and interesting way to cool down

Make Frozen Treats

Nothing feels better than a nice cold treat during a hot day. Instead of just handing your child a bowl of ice cream, make it fun and interactive or healthier by trying out these unique ideas:

  • DIY Ice Cream Sundae Bar

  • Create a DIY ice cream sundae bar in your kitchen. Set out different flavors of ice cream, a variety of toppings, sauces, and sprinkles. Let the kids build their own custom ice cream sundaes to enjoy a delicious and cooling treat

  • Frozen Fruit Pops

  • Make homemade frozen fruit popsicles with the kids. Let them choose their favorite fruits and blend them together with a bit of juice or yogurt. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds or ice cube trays, insert sticks, and freeze until solid. Enjoy these healthy and refreshing treats to beat the heat

  • Frozen Grapes

  • Wash and dry seedless grapes, then place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. Freeze the grapes for a few hours or overnight. These frozen grapes make for a simple, healthy, and refreshing snack that kids can enjoy straight from the freezer

Cool the House

A hot house can be unbearable and unpleasant, especially if it’s even hotter outside! If air-conditioning just isn’t an option (or not enough), try out these hacks:

Close the Blinds

  • During a hot day, close curtains or blinds to block out direct sunlight. Blackout blinds keep more sun out than just regular curtains alone, so consider investing in some. They will also prevent the house from becoming too hot later in the day

Enable Cross Ventilation

  • Take advantage of natural breezes by opening windows on opposite sides of your home. This allows for cross ventilation, which creates a refreshing airflow throughout the space and helping to cool it down

  • Opening the attic window can also help with ventilation, as hot air rises

Create a DIY Air Cooler

  • Place a shallow pan or bowl filled with ice in front of a fan. As the ice melts, the fan will blow cool air around the room, creating a makeshift air cooling system. This can be especially helpful in smaller areas or for personal cooling

See picture below:

Chill their pillow for a refreshing bedtime experience

  • Place your child's pillowcase or beloved toy in a plastic bag and let it cool in the refrigerator for a few hours before bedtime

  • When it's time to sleep, take it out and let your child rest their head on a delightfully cool pillow or cuddle up with a comforting, cool toy

Sun Protection

To keep away from the heat, it is important to stay out of the sun! However, if your child can’t get enough of the outdoors, make sure to keep them protected from those harmful rays. Here are a couple tips on how to protect your child from the sun:

  • Apply a sunscreen with a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) to shield your child's skin from harmful UV rays

  • Look for the label “Broad Spectrum” to make sure that your child is protected against both UVA (ultraviolet A) and UVB (ultraviolet B) rays

  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially if your kid is swimming or sweating excessively

  • Sun-Protective Umbrella or Shade Tent

  • Instead of relying solely on sunscreen and hats, consider using a sun-protective umbrella or shade tent

  • These portable and easy-to-set-up options create a shaded area for your child to play or rest in, shielding them from direct sunlight and reducing the risk of sunburn

  • Sun-Protective Window Shades or Curtains

  • Install sun-protective window shades or curtains in your home or car. These specially designed shades are made to block out a significant amount of UV rays while still allowing visibility and ventilation

  • They help create a shaded and cooler environment, minimizing your child's exposure to the sun's harmful rays

Cool Down with Water

Water is a great and accessible resource for cooling down. Engage in water-based activities to help your child beat the heat and have fun! A couple ideas for this are:

  • Set up a small inflatable pool in your backyard, or take them to a local swimming pool or water park

  • Quick playtime with the garden hose can be fun, exciting, and helpful

  • Encourage regular breaks for water play and provide refreshing water sprays or misting fans to help lower body temperature

  • Take a cool shower or bath before bedtime

  • Soak a cloth or rag in cool water and rub it all over the body. Keep a bowl beside the bed for easy refreshers throughout the night

Play Indoors

During extreme heatwaves, it may be safer to stay indoors in air-conditioned or well-ventilated spaces. When the temperature reaches around 90°F (32°C) or higher, it is generally recommended to limit outdoor playtime for children.

Engage your child in indoor activities such as:

  • DIY Arts and Crafts

  • Encourage creativity by setting up a DIY arts and crafts station. Provide materials such as paper, crayons, markers, colored pencils, scissors, glue, and various craft supplies

  • Indoor Scavenger Hunt:

  • Create a scavenger hunt by hiding various objects or clues throughout the house

  • Provide your child with a list of items to find or riddles to solve. It's an exciting and engaging activity that encourages problem-solving and exploration

  • Indoor Camping:

  • Set up an indoor camping experience by pitching a small tent or building a fort

  • Bring sleeping bags, flashlights, and pretend to have a camping adventure

  • You can tell stories, play shadow puppets, watch a movie, read a book, or even have a pretend campfire with paper flames and roasted marshmallows

Remember that every child is different, and some may be more sensitive to heat than others. Take into account your child's individual comfort level – if they start showing signs of discomfort, excessive sweating, or fatigue even at lower temperatures, it's wise to opt for indoor activities.

Take away

With these six practical tips, you can help your child manage the heat and stay comfortable during hot summer days. By prioritizing hydration, appropriate clothing, shade, sun protection, water activities, and indoor cool-down strategies, you can ensure that your child enjoys the summer while minimizing the risks associated with excessive heat exposure. Stay cool, stay safe, and have a fantastic summer season!

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