There’s something special about that first day of summer. Chances are your child will bounce out of bed with an energy that is unmatched any other day of the year; the promise of freedom for two whole months! For parents, too, this day probably signifies the beginning of a lot of fun—and also some hard work entertaining the young ones. Whether your child is camp-bound or hanging at home, there are plenty of ways to make sure your child stays healthy and still has lots of fun during the summer.
Sun-Exposure Savvy: By now, we’ve all heard time and again about limiting sun exposure and carefully applying sunscreen. Kids who have been over-exposed to the sun early in life might have a higher incidence of skin cancer, so it is especially important to limit your child’s exposure to the sun and choose their sunscreen carefully (we like this comprehensive list of kid friendly lotions. But don’t forget to think outside the screen for limiting harmful sun exposure! If you’re going to the beach or spending time lounging outdoors, bring an umbrella and get your kid a cute cap to wear. And remember: sunglasses are more than a fashion statement: they’re an important way to protect all parts of the eye from the damaging rays of UV light. So choose a cute pair that your kid loves—and will be inspired to remember to put on!
Cool off With Popsicles: Aside from delicious barbecued foods, there’s one food we all scream for in summer: melty, sweet, delicious ice cream. And while we’d never advocate going without, you can cut back on the less-than-healthy treats with a fun new activity: making fruit popsicles with your kid. Try these creative recipes to inspire you and check out these creative popsicle molds. Who knows, by the end of the summer, your family may have found a new #1 frozen treat. Either way, you’ll have indulged a little less without feeling like you’re sacrificing!
Be Smart about Hot Weather—Getting sick from excessive heat is something that, with just a little savvy, can most likely be avoided. Check out this useful index to understand when outdoor temperatures may become dangerous. Bear in mind that the very young (along with the elderly) are most susceptible to extreme heat conditions, so if you have young ones, take extra precaution. If temperatures are approaching danger levels, keep a cool head — try to prevent your child from drinking sugary drinks that may dehydrate them, keep them drinking plenty of water, dress them in light, cottony clothing, and just monitor outdoor activity so it doesn’t become too strenuous.
Spend Time in the Great Outdoors—Guess what? Spending time in the great outdoors is more than the perfect excuse for combining physical exercise with family bonding. Studies have shown that the benefits of enjoying nature are actually psychological: it can boost your spirits and reduce your stress levels, a very natural remedy for many stressors of modern life. So get out there and hike with your family this weekend; visit a nearby lake or ocean; you can even turn a trip to the woods nearby into a fun exploration – pack a picnic and bring a camera to record the neat things you see! And don’t forget to share the pictures with us
With all that said, know the risks that come with new destinations and be prepared. New territory is exciting (what would summer be without a little adventure?) but it’s definitely worth familiarizing yourself with the risks that may be associated with these new places. For example, if you’ll be going on a hike through a lot of brush, make sure to wear bug spray and give your kids a thorough tick inspection after you’re safe at home. Luckily in the age of Google, it’s possible to be careful and attentive without driving yourself (or your kids) crazy!
There you have it! Now go forth and take this summer by the horns. Just don’t forget to come back and share your stories—great adventures, delicious popsicles, how you beat the heat, we want to hear it all