With half of the world in the midst of a heatwave, I wanted to use this month’s editorial to talk about ways you can keep kids (and yourself) cool during times of oppressive heat. From pulse points to picnic foods, here are my favorite ways to stay cool.
To keep your kids cool, wet sweatbands and a face towel and freeze them. When they’re nice and cold (not rock solid) put them around your child’s neck and at their pulse points.
Monitor your child’s outdoor time. If it’s too hot out for you, then they shouldn’t be out either. Instead, try playing outside earlier or later in the day. Not in the middle of it. If your child is overheated, sweaty and red-faced or feels nauseous, get them into a cool bath immediately. This is the fastest way to bring down their body temperature.
Similarly, if you don’t have air-conditioning or access to a beach, lake, local pool, or backyard paddle pool, turn to the bathtub for a quick mid-day cool down for kids. Throw in some bath toys to make it fun.
Appetites can decrease in hot weather, so don’t be nervous if your child is eating less, just make sure you have more snacks available. Puree strawberries, raspberries, some greens yogurt and some milk and blend up and freeze them as yo-pops, which they can have one or two of these natural treats.
Scoop melon balls and pineapples and put them on sticks and freeze them. A lovely afternoon snack
For picnics, look past the sandwiches and chips. It’s important to remember that kids still have to get their daily nutrients in, so make sure you are just as consistent in the picnic lunch you pack as you are at home. For younger ones, I like to make a spin on traditional cold salads by combining tuna, penne pasta, sweet corn, and broccoli with a tablespoon of low-fat mayo and a pinch of paprika. For older kids, yellow and orange peppers with slices of ham (and optional: cream cheese) inside is a fun picnic/finger food option. For parents and kids alike, one of my all-time favorites that’s great for a picnic is cold couscous with raisins and chicken — delicious!
Remember to keep your kids hydrated. Make it fun by using crazy straws or a splash of cranberry juice for color. You can monitor your child’s hydration by taking a look at their morning and even urine. Keep an eye on your child’s nappy as well, if it’s not as wet as it normally is, they’re not drinking enough. Pedia-lite and Diralite are common fluids used for diarrhea, but it doesn’t hurt to put some of this in a drink of an overheated child, as it has electrolytes in it.
Chamomile, mint, or herbal tea is also really nice when it’s cooled down. Make it hot, add honey, and cool it in the fridge for a natural iced tea.
Food warning: Be very cautious of food left out in the heat, as you never want to eat anything that’s been out for too long due to bacteria and the risk of it spoiling faster. If you’re going on a picnic, do not forget bags of ice or ice packs to keep the food fresh and cold.
Dress children (and yourself) in bright, loose-fitting and lightweight clothes rather than dark ones (which absorb more heat).
It’s no coincidence that footwear and headwear keep us warm, so remember to allow head and feet to breathe and release as much heat as possible.
It may seem obvious, but putting your child’s hair up (regardless of gender) will help as well.
If children are out in the water and the sun is particularly bright, make sure they wear a tee shirt or wet suit top of some sort to protect them.
And, please do not forget sunscreen protection. As we know for some countries, this is becoming an expensive purchase, but this is one that should be used every couple of hours and NOT in moderation. Even when the sky is overcast, U.V. is still penetrating, so do not be fooled by the lack of sun and make sure you lotion up. Don’t forget the back of the neck, ears, and feet. Lead by example and do this as much as for yourself as you do for your kids.
Copywritten by Jo Frost