Keep your child’s skin protected without tears with these 7 Tips for Applying Sunscreen to Kids! Learn how to apply sunscreen without tantrums.
How to Apply Sunscreen for Kids
Any activity with kids requires preparation. From getting ready to school to having fun in the sun, you can’t just make a beeline for the door when it’s time to leave. There are multiple steps in getting ready for things. I’m guilty of cutting corners on occasion to reduce the frustration and fighting that doing things as they should result in.
There are certain things you just can’t skip or skimp on. Things like brushing hair and teeth are a given and necessary routine of our everyday life.
But there are other things that are a necessary part of life that you don’t do very often, which depending on the task, for little ones can be pretty overwhelming and upsetting. Kids just want to have fun and not worry about things like sunscreen.
There’s no shortage of water in Austin so we’ll be taking advantage! Dips in the pool, enjoying the lakes, or just swinging by the splash pad at the mall will be filling many days on our calendar.
Since I work from home, it’s impossible for us to leave the house on an adventure every day. On the days that we stay at home, I want to make sure the girls still stay active and enjoy time outside and unplugged so each year we purchase an inflatable swimming pool. This $20 investment is a great solution for keeping the girls entertained and cool at home while playing in hot and humid weather.
Sunburns and UV damage are not something they really comprehend at a young age. So getting kids to slow down and sit still long enough for you to apply sunscreen without running off can be a challenge.
Living in a warm-weather climate, I’ve become a bit of an expert at applying sunscreen to little ones. If you’re struggling with this, here are some tips for applying sunscreen to kids.
7 Tips for Applying Sunscreen to Kids
1. Choose the right SPF.
You’ll want to go with a minimum of SPF 30 for kids. There’s a misconception that the higher the SPF, the better the protection against UV rays.
While this is true, it’s only marginally so. And with it comes false security and a failure to reapply. Sunscreens with protection against UVA and UVB rays and a sun protection factor of 30-50 are your best bets.
2. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you leave the house.
Since the visual temptation of the activity is not yet there, I like taking my time to apply sunscreen to our family at home. It feels more moisturizing and I can ensure I get even application and coverage on all exposed skin. If any arguments about putting on sunscreen occur, you’ll have the upper hand in explaining that if sunscreen isn’t applied, your child can’t leave the house and go have fun.
3. Sing a song.
You’re gearing up for a time of fun, so for little ones, singing a silly song and turning sunscreen application into a fun little moment can make all the difference in the world.
4. With little ones, don’t overlook bribery.
It doesn’t have to be huge, something as simple as the promise of one-on-one time with mom or dad can do the trick. Kids love to feel in control so allowing them to help apply sunscreen and “do it myself” can be a huge motivator.
5. Reapply sunscreen.
Choose the best types of sunscreen for the job. Lotion sunscreens are perfect for kids because you can see exactly where the sunscreen is being applied.
Anyone that’s had a splotchy sunburn knows, that sometimes spray sunscreens don’t work like you hope. I love wet sunscreens but it can be hard to get consistent coverage.
When your kids finally get out of the pool, trying to dry them off and apply lotion sunscreen can end in a huge battle and a white, slimy mess so I like using Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids sunscreen. This sunscreen works on wet or dry skin, there’s no running or whitening, and its sweat and water resistant for up to 80 minutes.
It sprays on and stays on! An added bonus is that Wet Skin Kids is oil-free, PABA free, and hypoallergenic which means it’s perfect for sensitive skin too.
To take things a step further, you can also buy UV protective clothing like these. You’ll still need to apply and reapply sunscreen, but your child’s skin will be better protected.
6. Be consistent.
Make your kids aware that sun protection is a priority and non-negotiable. Even if you won’t be near the water, your kids are likely to spend a lot of time outside in summer.
Applying sunscreen to exposed skin like arms and legs and faces, as part of your morning routine can help kids get used to the application process. By practicing sun safety every day, you’ll head off battles as they become more comfortable.
7. Do not apply sunscreen to babies under 6 months old.
Babies have very sensitive skin and can react negatively to the UV protective chemicals in sunscreen. For babies under 6 months, hats and UV protective clothing are key along with keeping them in the shade as much as possible.
Once a baby is 6 months old, make sure to use baby formulas that are designed with less chemicals and won’t irritate eyes as much if they accidentally get some in there. Not only do you want your baby wearing sunscreen that’s made just for them, you want to avoid spray sunscreen. While it may be faster you won’t get as even coverage.