We spend a lot of time discussing how you can fight the signs of aging and protect YOUR skin against the sun, but what about your children? Many of you have newborns or young children at home that spend a lot of time outdoors. What can you do to protect their skin and teach them more about skin care?
Telling Your Children about the Dangers of Sun Exposure
I already know what you are thinking…”How am I supposed to sit my child down and explain how dangerous UV rays can be to the skin?” Will children, especially younger ones, really understand what you are talking about if you have a “serious” conversation with them? On the surface, it may seem like a challenge, but you can get through to them if you use the right approach.
When first explaining something like sunburn to your child, equate it to something he or she already understands, like a burn or being sick. Then, show them that magical lotion that can help prevent him or her from feeling that bad again. The trick is in not being overzealous to the point that your child is afraid to go outside, hence the magical lotion and the magic sun protection hat.
At some point, your children are going to be out in the sun too long and start to suffer some overexposure symptoms. This can happen all of a sudden and every parent has probably gone through this at some point. When this happens, sit down with your child and go over the entire experience. What purpose does this serve? It will help them recognize on their own when they have simply had too much sun and need to get inside.
Children love being rewarded, so make that part of the process. Create some type of “rating” system where your child can earn points every time he or she applies sunscreen before going out. They can also earn points for reapplying after they come out of the water and coming in from outside on their own when conditions are a bit severe. Once they hit a plateau, maybe it is time for a trip to the toy store or surprise them with their favorite dessert.
Lead by Example
The trait of every good leader is the ability to lead by example. This is especially true with children. Your child watches everything you do and probably worships the ground you walk on. Little girls want to look beautiful like mommy and little boys want to do everything their father does. So, use sunscreen! If you are doing it, your kids are much more likely to put on sunscreen willingly, sit under the umbrella, and wear their sun protection hat.