Does summer catch you off guard every year? Do you spend the first few sunny days getting burned, or dragging your poor kids out of the park because you haven’t got sunscreen? Even though we know it’s coming, we never seem to be fully prepared, and those first hot days are always something of a surprise.
But, without preparation, you can’t take care of your family. Summer has many different risks, and it’s all too common to find yourself unable to enjoy the sunny weather because your skin is burnt and uncomfortable, you are struggling with seasonal allergies, and you are ill from dehydration. Taking care of yourself and being prepared for summer means that you can enjoy it more.
This becomes even more important if you’ve got a young family. You don’t just need to keep yourself safe and comfortable. You also need to look after kids. Which isn’t always easy when all they want to do is play outside and make the most of the weather.
Failing to take care of your family in the summer months can mean that they become dehydrated; they suffer from severe burns and that everyone is massively uncomfortable, and unhappy.
So, now that warmer weather is approaching let’s take a look at some of the things that you can do to take care of yourself and your family this summer. So that you can all have plenty of fun, whether you are playing in the paddling pool in the garden, or on exciting family days out to the beach or other attractions.
Stock up on Sunscreen
If there’s one thing that you definitely need this summer, it’s sunscreen, and you probably need it much earlier than you might think. You can read more about why it’s important to wear sunscreen, but you probably already know that it can protect you from sunburn in the short term and reduce your risks of developing skin cancer in the future.
You should be wearing sunscreen even on cloudy days when you aren’t likely to burn. It will protect you from harmful rays. Make sure children wear a high factor sunscreen and that you use products for sensitive skin if you need to.
Stock up on plenty of sunscreen so that you can carry some with you wherever you go and pop some in the kid’s bags to take to school or nursery.
Combat Seasonal Allergies
Seasonal allergies, namely hay fever, are an absolute pain. You might find that your eyes and nose are streaming from mid-spring all of the way through summer. As soon as there’s a little blossom on the trees, you might start sneezing, and this constant discomfort could trouble you until grass mowing season is over. It really depends how sensitive you are to pollen, and the specific kind you are allergic too. If it’s grass pollen, you might be in for a long summer, but if you are only allergic to blossom, your symptoms might start to subside as spring turns to summer.
Hay fever affects around one in five of us at some point, and its severity can vary year to year. Some years you might be okay, others you might be severely incapacitated by your symptoms.
Some of the most common symptoms of hay fever include nasal congestion, sore, itchy and watery eyes, a cough, sore throat, sneezing, and headaches. Fortunately, while there is no cure for hay fever, there is plenty that you can do to limit symptoms. Over the counter antihistamines and eye drops are often effective, and many brands are suitable for children in liquid form. Self-help techniques like wearing wrap-around sunglasses, showering before bed to remove pollen from your hair and skin, staying indoors when the pollen count is high, and applying vaseline around your nose to trap pollen before it enters your body can also help.
Don’t Forget the Hat
If you’ve got young children, you probably have some experience of desperately trying to get them to wear a hat as they are running around playing. In winter, you’ll be continually jamming a wooly hat down over their ears to keep them warm while they are outdoors, and in the summer, you’ll be chasing after them in the park brandishing a discarded hat, in an attempt to protect their head from the sun’s rays.
It’s hard work, but it’s worth it. A summer hat, with either a wide brim or a peak and neck cover, can help to protect them from sunburn and sunstroke. If your children are very young, you might want to buy a few sun hats so that there is always one to hand. You should also try to set a good example by wearing your own sun hat when you are outdoors.
Keep Your Home Cool
There’s nothing worse in summer than being uncomfortable at home. Those nights when it is too hot to sleep, or when you can’t even sit on your sofa and watch TV without being hot, sticky, and uncomfortable.
It doesn’t have to be like this. You can keep your home cool by installing and maintaining an air conditioning system, opening your windows when it’s too warm, closing the curtains or blinds when the sun is shining directly on your windows, and investing in light bedding. Portable fans, plenty of ice in the freezer, and loose light clothing will also help you to stay comfortable.
Get Into Good Hydration Habits
Dehydration is a severe problem in the summer, especially for young children. When it’s hot, you sweat more and lose fluids, but if you are only drinking caffeine, fizzy drinks and juice, you aren’t replenishing well enough to keep your body working at its best.
But, suddenly, trying to hit that two-liter water goal can be tough if you aren’t used to it. Get into good habits now by carrying a water bottle around and sipping throughout the day, and drinking water with meals, and encourage your family to do the same. Start with good hydration habits now, and you’ll be ready for summer.
Take Some Time Off
Summer can be great fun, but if you are trying to do everything while working and combating the heat, it can become stressful. Book yourself some time off work, book a trip for you and your kids during the school holidays, and make some plans. But, make sure that you also plan to get some rest. Summer is hard work, and you deserve a break as much as anyone else.
Give up on Perfection
Summer, like Christmas, is a fun time for families. But, just like Christmas, many of us are guilty of putting far too much pressure on ourselves to make things perfect. We want to go on the perfect trips, take lots of day trips, indulge in huge ice creams, and do everything that everyone else seems to be. This stress can ruin everything, when actually, quite often the very best summer days are those that we spend in our local park with a picnic or playing in the garden with the hosepipe and ice creams out of the freezer. Give up on the idea of a perfect summer and let yourself have fun.
Teach Them to Swim
When you go on holiday with kids, your priority will always be keeping them safe. When they are young, you’ll always supervise them in the pool, and they’ll never be left alone. But, you should still make sure that they have at least basic water skills and that they are able to keep themselves safe. This can put your mind at rest.