Today I’m sitting among suitcases, packing list, bathing suits, and sand and water toys and all I can think about are freckles. Since my kids are part fish, it’s quite convenient that we spend most of our summer at our family beach house. I watch my kids race into the waves for hours and they sequel with joy when the tide rolls in and swallows up their sandcastles, but all I can think about are freckles. You see, I’m a child of the 80’s and teenager of the 90’s. So that means in addition to awful hair choices and questionable styles in clothing, I shamelessly worshiped the sun, and now at the ripe old age of 35, I have the sun damage and the freckles, to prove it.
As a kid, sun protection for me was one bottle of sunscreen, only used while we were at the beach, applied only in the morning, and was probably used the next year and the year after that. There was no sunscreen when we rode our bikes or swam for hours and hours at our pool. As a teenager and in my early twenties, the tanning bed was my friend and constant companion between laying out with….wait for it…baby oil.
And now I have been entrusted with the precious skin of my children and friends, let me tell you, I take this job very seriously. Because their skin is just as fair as my own, I need to make sure their skin is protected and they’re not covered in freckles from years of being careless in the sun. But adding sunscreen to kids everyday can be a bit of a challenge because getting my kids to stand still long enough for me to actually apply the sunscreen is pretty ridiculous.
For beach, bike rides, pool time, playgrounds, and prolonged exposure to the sun, we need to be protected with sunscreen. Here are six ways to get your kids to actually wear sunscreen.
1. Sunscreen Train: Everyone needs sunscreen before we head out and everyone needs to get on the train! Create a line and let everyone apply sunscreen to each other. Just be sure you go back over the kids to make sure they have the correct coverage and enough sunscreen.
2. Connect the dots: Apply the sunscreen in a dot pattern on their arms and legs. Let your kids use their fingers to connect the dots while you apply to other body parts.
3. Set a Timer: Grab an egg timer or set a timer on your phone and have a race with your kids to see how fast you can apply sunscreen everywhere. Make sure you start with their feet and legs and work your way up since their faces tend to be where kids fight sunscreen the most!
4. Simon Says Sunscreen- Put some sunscreen in your child’s hands and play a quick game of Simon Says Sunscreen. Simon Says put sunscreen on your belly! Simon Says put sunscreen on your right leg! Of course, re-check for coverage when the game ends.
5. Apply before you go: Once you hit the outdoors, your chances of successfully adding sunscreen are dwindling. So apply before you leave the house!
6. Distraction: Come on, you’re good at this! A quick snack, a show on TV, maybe a few minutes on the beloved iPad. Sometimes our distractions aren’t pretty, but whatever it takes!
Here’s a really important tip: just applying sunscreen isn’t enough. There are quite a few things I learned from KnowYourOTCs.org about sunscreen and how and when we need to apply. Here’s what they say are the most important tips to remember about applying sunscreen:
Re-apply every 2 hours or more if your child has been in the water
Make sure you are using the right amount of sunscreen–think the size of a golf ball
For more summer survival tips, be sure to check out KnowYourOTCs.org
Now I know applying and reapplying sunscreen to younger kids can be difficult. Tell me what fun ways have you used to apply and reapply sunscreen on your kids?
This post was sponsored by KnowYourOTCs but all opinions and ideas are 100% my own