Spring has sprung! The sun is shining, flowers are blooming and birds are singing — and everyone is restless to get outside and enjoy it. But there’s a flip-side to every coin. Those beautiful blooms bring sniffles and sneezing for many, and while birds put lovely music in the air, they also often leave not-so-lovely droppings on our cars and driveways. As for getting the kids outside in the spring sunshine? Even without the heat of summer, your little ones could end up with skin damage from springtime exposure. Read on for a fun way to teach your kids about sun safety!
As with many personal care routines — dental care, exercise, hydration — instilling good habits early sets kids up for success later in life. It’s also worth noting that children are more likely to remember something if they are engaged while learning about it, so we’ve provided some fun ways to teach your kids about sun safety as they prepare to head outdoors. Before you cut them loose in the warmer weather, teach them the following tips — and for extra credit check out this pre-planned lesson with crossword puzzle activity from the American Association of Dermatology!
- Shadow play — Teach your kiddos to keep track of their shadow. If it’s shorter than they are, they’re at a higher risk for dangerous levels of sun exposure because it’s the time of day when the sun is highest in the sky. Make sure they keep an eye on the length of their shadow and seek shade when it indicates that they’re out and about between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
- Play dress-up — Keeping your skin covered is a sure-fire way to avoid sunburn. Besides pants and long-sleeve shirts made from light materials, wide-brim hats and sunglasses are great guards as well. Stock up on fun hats and silly sunglasses from thrift stores or garage sales, and then let your kids pick their own gear every time they head outside.
- Play by the rules — Make putting on sunscreen part of your child’s daily routine. Much like putting on a seatbelt without thinking about it, slapping on some sunscreen should be automatic before they go outside. You can even pair it up with another habit your kids are learning, e.g., “Every morning we: brush our teeth, wash our face, comb our hair and put on sunscreen.”
- Light play — Sun, sand and swimming; the ultimate summer combination. Just make sure your kids understand how these things interact with each other to make sun damage more likely. Water and sand reflect direct sunlight, which means their presence increases your chances of getting burned. Remind your kids, too, that they can still get a sunburn even though getting in the water or burying themselves in sand makes them feel cooler.
If you have questions about sun safety in the spring, call us! We have convenient locations in Arlington Heights, Barrington, Bartlett, Buffalo Grove, Crystal Lake, Elgin, Libertyville, Lindenhurst, McHenry, Park Ridge, Naperville, Oak Brook, and soon in Skokie.
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