As we begin summer and start planning for our children to be outside of their regular school
schedule, keeping these 10 tips in mind will help them enjoy this season!
1) Keep Them Hydrated. As the weather warms up, we all tend to perspire more, and even when not playing sports or sitting in the sun, we all need to drink plenty of water.
Drinking 8 glasses a day is a good plan. If urine is golden or dark yellow, it is a sign of dehydration and easily corrected with more water. Stay away from sugary or caffeinated beverages that can dehydrate you and your children.
2) Protect The Skin. Be sure to cover the skin of children with sunscreen. Buy an extra tube of sunscreen and keep it in your car for those days when you forget to lather up before leaving home. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating. Also, minimize the amount of outdoor activity between 10am-4pm. Even on cloudy days, the harmful rays can provide a terrible sunburn. Stay protected!
3) Know Their Whereabouts. Many parents are both working and children may have less structure outside of school. Be an active parent who helps plan each day for your children and always know where they are spending their time. Spend time with them each evening and encourage them to share their day’s activities with you.
4) Avoid Hot Car Accidents. It’s hard to forget your dog when you park your car at the end of a long day or drive because they are jumping and excited to be anywhere different. But a sleeping child in the back seat is sadly forgotten too many times by a loving caregiver who does the unthinkable… If your daily routine is to drive your child home, you know the drill like the back of your hand. But if you are out of sync with the daily drill, and the little one is in the back seat, try setting up a pattern that will not allow you to accidentally leave your child in a hazardous situation. Try setting your phone alarm for the time when you expect to be home and it will jolt you out of your haze. Or try leaving your glovebox open during the drive. When you park your car, you will look at the glovebox and be instantly reminded that your little one is sleeping in the back seat.
5) Bike/Scooter/Skateboard Safety. Inspect your children’s travel toys and make sure they know how to maintain their equipment. Teach them the importance of inspecting all wheels and if necessary, how to replace them or add air to tires. Loose wheel spokes, loose handlebars, cracked skateboards, or wobbling roller skates all need to be fixed to keep your children safe. Go over all safety rules including riding near traffic, wearing a helmet, kneepads, and wrist guards if applicable.
6) Stranger Danger. Be sure your children do not go places alone, particularly if they are not in their own neighborhood. Let them know that no matter how nice sounding someone may be, they are to run away from any stranger who offers them a ride and report the incident to a trusted adult. Make sure they do not go anywhere alone with strangers that are teens or adults and if they are not sure what to do, always find a trusted adult for help.
7) Eating A Balanced Meal. It seems like there are so many pizza and ice cream parties over the summer and there is no reason to always avoid them. But we need to monitor the food our loved ones consume and to also set a great example for our children too. Just because its summertime, doesn’t mean we should allow ourselves to over-indulge in too many treats. Be sure to balance our diets with healthy home-cooked meals and make sure all family members are eating foods with many colors. Lots of fruits and vegetables are great, healthy alternatives to sweets. Cookouts are great fun too and there is no shame in bringing a nice salad to share.
8) Practice Water Safety. Enjoying the great outdoors on the lake, ocean or river can provide lifelong memories with your family. However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, drowning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths for US children 1-4 years old. Be sure that children are safe around water by taking note of unfenced pools & drain covers. Everyone on boats should be wearing life vests and make sure children have taken swimming lessons. It’s highly recommended that you and others in your group have taken a CPR class to be better prepared for any accidents.
9) Keeping Safe On The Playground. It is important that children play and discover their own skills of balance and ability. It’s also important for children to learn how to improve their social skills on the playground and to display good judgment. Monitor them to make sure they are not bullying or being bullied on the playground; allowing each child to have their turn on the equipment. Be sure that children are dressed appropriately so they don’t hurt themselves with the wrong type of shoes or hanging clothes that may get caught on equipment. On hot days, lightly touch the equipment first to avoid burns. For colder days (or evenings), bring a blanket in case you or your little one wants to snuggle to warm up. Also keep a first-aid kit in your car, as it is always good to have one for your group.
10) Take Breaks From Summer Activities. Children (and many adults) don’t always know their limits and they can overexert themselves. Too much sun, not enough hydration or sunscreen, excessive sweating, and extended athletic play are all dangerous and can cause serious health problems. Be a Leader and Do What’s Right by setting a great example and making sure that everyone takes plenty of water breaks and time to allow their body temperatures to decrease.
Have a great summer and enjoy time with your family and friends. Remember to take note of these tips and others that will protect your family and set a great example for your children.