When people think of perfect childhoods, they often think of children blissfully running through fields, beaches, laughter, and naked skin shining in the sunlight. Ah, the idyllic childhood of yore. These days, however, it’s well known that skin shining in the sun could later mean cancer. It’s a pretty stark reality check, but one that we need to take onboard and to do so with grace, aplomb, and some fun.
With so many things to consider these days, keeping your child happy, healthy, and as eco-friendly as possible can be a challenging job, if you add in your own needs, and it can add up to a lot. With this in mind, it’s time to strategize how to best protect your child from too much sun exposure while still maintaining your sanity.
Begin with sunblock
First, the sunblock. Start by choosing your sunblock wisely. In order to actually get the sunblock on your child, you might need to be creative and have your child help you put sunblock on you to begin with. Little fingers will be happy to paint lines, circles, dots, and hearts all over. You’ll finish by creating a mashup sunblock artwork on your body that you’ll then massage in. Next, it’s your child’s turn to receive. In front of a mirror, begin your art project. If necessary, ask age-appropriate distracting questions (“Do you think cats can fly? Where would they go? What if they could eat ice cream?”) while you slather on that cream.
Cover the head
Next, the hat. You will definitely need your child’s buy-in in order to make this happen. You can start by perusing eco-friendly hat sites. Ask your child about color and style. Then, head off to a local store and make it happen. Toddlers and preschoolers are notorious for their fashionista tastes (read: picky), so be patient. Note: If they don’t actually like the hat, they probably won’t wear it, so it’s key that they pick one that they like.
Protect the eyes
After hats, think sunglasses. While you don’t necessarily need expensive sunglasses for your kids, it certainly helps if your kids actually like what they are wearing. Give them some options, and buy yourself a super cool pair of designer sunglasses along the way. At first, the feeling of sunglasses can be quite foreign to kids, so take it slowly. Again, make it into an imaginative game like spiders chasing bugs or bunnies wearing sunglasses, etc. This will be much more fun for them, and has the added bonus of keeping you sane.
Cute clothing, high UPF
Once your child’s skin, hat, and eyes are covered, you’ll need some good sun-protective clothing to finish the job. There are many cute shirts and pants in lightweight cotton which also has a high UPF. (Note: not all cotton has good sun protection.) Doctors recommend infants under six months not wear sunblock, so organic high UPF clothing is a great option.
All in all, with a little bit of planning and some imagination, it is easy to protect your child from too much sun exposure. The idyllic days of yore might not be the same as today, but you can still find fun under the sun in many fantastic healthy ways.