Getting my kids to wear sunscreen every day can become a tedious and frustrating task during the summer. I get it. It’s really not all that pleasant to rub a greasy lotion all over your body.
But using sunscreen is a necessity. Every day.
“Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital examined survey data from more than 100,000 nurses participating in the Harvard Nurses Health study and found that those who had at least five blistering sunburns when they were 15 to 20 years old had a 68 percent increased risk for common skin cancers like basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas and an 80 percent increased risk of the deadlier melanoma by the time they reached middle age.”
There are a few ways to inspire your children to wear sunscreen that don’t involve holding them down!
1. Lead by example. Show your children how you wear sunscreen and reapply throughout the day. Be a good role model!
2. Make it fun. Make up a silly sunscreen game-Simon Says put your sunscreen on your toes. If the application process is fun they’re more likely to wear sunscreen.
3. Let your child pick out their own sunscreen. My kids are very particular about the scent and texture of the sunscreen they use. Every summer I buy a few of my favorite safe brands and let them pick. All three of my kids will only wear sunscreens that don’t make them turn pasty white when applied. This year I added a few sunscreen sticks into the mix and they were grabbed.
4. Have everyone put on their own sunscreen. I know…we want to make sure every square inch of skin is protected. Even if your little ones don’t do a very good job, this is a great habit to create from an early age. You’ll thank me later. You can always go and do touch-ups if needed.
5. Talk about being sun smart. Explain to your kids why we all wear sunscreen. At some point they’ll understand and hopefully continue applying their own sunscreen as they grow.
Please remember: Don’t use a spray sunscreen. While spray sunscreens are convenient (I’m the first to admit that!), many spray sunscreens-especially the aerosol sprays-contain ingredients that don’t belong on your skin. Also, when you spray sunscreen you are likely to inhale the fumes and this is a much more direct route of exposure than when you apply the sunscreen directly to your skin. It goes directly into your lungs.