As parents, we love the summer months, and the freedom it gives our kids to play outside. No matter how much fun your kids will have in your home, there is something special about playing outdoors. There is obviously a problem with playing outside, and that is the danger from the sun’s rays. So, even though I want my kids to be playing in the sunshine, I also need to protect them from harm. Here are a few ways that I balance the fun outside and the safety I require for my kids.
This is always the starting point. As more information on the harmful effects of the sun’s rays becomes available, protection from them becomes increasingly important. Brush up on the terminology on the sun screen bottles, always buy sunscreen specifically for children, and make sure it is waterproof if they are going anywhere near water. Another thing to remember is that applying sunscreen once a day is useless for kids who are likely to be outside for hours, probably sweating the screen off every hour or two; so I keep topping up the sunscreen they have on throughout the day.
If I set up a paddling pool in my garden for the kids to splash around in, I am always aware of where the sun is, and set up a large parasol to keep my kids in the shade. Never forget that water will intensify the effect of the sun’s rays and will reflect it back onto your children too. I use the parasol as I can move it around the paddling pool as the sun moves, but can remove it when it is not in use. If you have a permanent pool, it is worth considering a retractable cover; or a simple cover you can pull overhead; after all, you may want to swim in the rain too.
Make sure that you have an area where the kids can settle and play that is not in direct sunlight. If they are having an outside picnic, or playing with a sand table, this is best done in a shady area. It is easy enough to build an area of prefabricated steel and cover it with tinted Perspex or plastic sheeting, the steel can be made to measure at Cannonsteelsltd.co.uk, and the sheeting can be bought at any builder’s yard. The cost is small, and the structure will stop direct light, but allow the illusion of being in the sunshine. Other alternatives such as an arbour or gazebo are possible, but I like my kids to sit in the shade, not shadow.
This is the drinking kind, not the swimming kind. Kids will dehydrate in the sun, even if they are sitting down to read a book; so I make sure you know the signs to look for, and that there is always water available. They can have access to other drinks too, but there is always water. I find that the kids will drink much more water if it is cold, so I set up an urn full of iced water that is always on tap. I will also make sure that I make them have a water break every 30 minutes max, and reduce that if they are running around.
Playing in the sun is a healthy thing as long as you pay attention to the dangers that can accompany it. Protect your child from the harmful rays of the sun and sunburn, make sure they are drinking enough water, and that they take breaks from direct sunlight every so often. They can then enjoy a fun-filled day playing outdoors with their mates or you. Don’t forget, you are allowed to enjoy the sunshine too.