From your backyard to your favorite beach getaway, you’ll want to ensure your kids pick up healthy habits in the sun. Sun protection is essential, no matter who or where you are. Start good habits early and keep your kids safe from the sun’s harmful rays. From sunhats to swimsuits, there are many different ways to keep the sun at bay.
Why is sun protection so important? Simply put, you only have one skin. Treat it kindly and keep it in tip-top shape. Sun damage tends to build over the years, so healthy sun protection habits in kids go a long way to protecting your little ones from developing skin cancer later in life. From boy’s rash guards to toddler swimsuits for girls, there are many ways to protect your kiddos from the start.
Your kids can wear sunscreen after six months of age. So be sure to build the habit early. Normalize it and expect to reapply every four hours, especially when you’re playing in the water. Those healthy habits will stick with your kid throughout their lives.
Even on cloudy days, the sun’s rays can still penetrate clouds. Always apply sunscreen, no matter what time of year or what the weather is doing. If you’re outside, plan on wearing sunscreen. Consider using face-specific sunscreen if your kids have sensitive skin or complain about their eyes burning. This helps to mitigate the unwanted side effects of burning eyes with sunscreen.
Of course, when your kid swims, you’ll want them to wear a bathing suit. Opt for suits with specific UPF protection (50 and up works great). There are also other ways to protect your child from the sun’s harmful rays. Rash guards are a great option for children who will be in the water and out in the sun. Remember, the sun reflects off water, so be sure to put sunscreen under their nose and neck too.
When you get out of the water, a girl’s cover-up and a girl’s hat that has a wide brim will protect both her face and eyes from the sun. Boys’ hats work well too—even just a baseball cap can offer plenty of sun protection.
If your kid gets a sunburn, the last thing you want to do is expose them to more direct rays. Consider purchasing a lightweight sun shirt—these hooded, breathable layers are UPF rated and reflect harmful rays so you don’t get burned. They aren’t just great for kids, but the whole family will love them too.
Next, be sure to put on additional sunscreen throughout the day. In the evenings and after you’re finished outdoors, use aloe vera to soothe the burn. We love to put aloe in the fridge first so it feels even cooler and more soothing.
One way to instill solid habits for applying sunscreen is to get your kids to take ownership of sun safety. First, reward them, such as having the choice of their favorite beach towels for applying sunscreen. Make it a game. Create a point system for whenever your kid remembers to reapply sunscreen. Whoever has the most points at the end of the vacation wins a treat like their favorite candy bar or a small toy. That way they will learn the habit of applying sunscreen every four hours and see the reward. Bonus points if siblings help each other out with applying sunscreen to their backs.
If a reward system doesn’t work for your household, set a timer on your phone so you know when it’s time to call them back from the water. Teach them how to apply sunscreen and why it’s an important health care routine. Use a minimum of 30 SPF on your kids. If you’re playing in the ocean, don’t forget to check that the sunscreen is reef safe too.
Sunblindness is a real threat and it can affect you year-round. In the winter, snowblindness is caused by not wearing proper sun protection on your eyes. Even in the summer, you can get affected if you spend all day on a glistening lake. Make sure your kiddos have sunglasses to protect them from harmful rays that can affect their vision. For active kids, get a keepsake rope to wear around their sunnies. Just be sure to remove their sunglasses while playing in the water. Hats also help to protect their eyes. Always combine a sunhat with sunglasses for maximum eye protection on sunny days.
Sun protection habits are easy to develop and are a tremendous help at keeping both your kids’ eyes and skin healthy. Build healthy habits at a young age to ensure they will find fun in the sun for years to come.