Teaching Sun Safety to Kids Mar 5, 2020 / by Complete Family Dermatology Team
Teaching sun safety to kids is vital for their lifelong health and happiness. Sun safety is essential for preventing skin cancer and other conditions with potentially severe consequences. Avoiding these issues is the number one reason to know sun safety practices and teach them to your children. Instilling these habits helps protect you and your family from the disastrous consequences of overexposure to the sun.
The most powerful thing you can do to help your kids and grandkids practice these sun safety tips is to begin teaching them early. The damage from sunburn and sun damage increases your children’s risk of developing skin cancer later on. Your child’s lifetime melanoma risk could be doubled by just a few sunburns.
Starting at an early age is essential to helping kids stay protected for a lifetime. Thankfully, there are several impactful actions available to you as a parent or guardian.
If your child is six months or older, you can begin applying sunscreen anytime they are going to spend time out in the sun. Kids need sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher just as adults do. By beginning sun safety as early as possible, you make it far easier for your kids to practice it later on. This is because it has already had time to become an ingrained habit. Just like you instill daily care like brushing teeth, bathing, and healthy meals, so you can encourage sun safety.
More Than Sunscreen
Sun safety is not merely about using sunscreen before spending time outdoors. There are numerous other ways to improve your kids’ sun safety. Make sure your kids play in the shade whenever possible. Make sure they do not spend much time playing outdoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is brightest.
You should encourage your children to wear sunglasses with UV protection, suitable clothing, and hats. You can also purchase SPF 30 lip balm to add to your repertoire. While sunscreen is essential, these additions can make a significant improvement in protecting your kids from sun damage.
Live Sun Safety
One of the most important things you can do is be a role model for your kids. Make sure they see you practicing sun safety yourself. Apply sunscreen, wear a hat and sunglasses, and the like. It is vital that you make sun safety a natural and healthy part of daily life. Setting an example for them is the most effective way you can convince them of its importance.
If your kids’ school does not already emphasize sun safety, encourage teachers and faculty to do so. Perhaps purchase a bottle of sunscreen for the classroom. Sun safety is far easier to instill if kids get it outside the home, as well as inside. Practicing sun safety habits at school is crucial to cementing these habits in later life. There are numerous sun safety education programs available either online or at request. These can help schools easily design sun safety programs for their students.
Keep Learning Positive
Your kids are more likely to engage in habits if they are fun or exciting. Keeping kids’ interest is vital to convincing them to do things that they need to do. That includes sun safety. Make sure you keep sun safety light-hearted. Never scold your kids for forgetting, but always encourage them to be proactive. Positive reinforcement is almost always the most effective.
You can be silly when you remind your kids to practice sun safety, singing songs, or making jokes. What is most important is finding ways to incorporate sun safety into daily life that are natural and effortless. Remember: what matters is keeping your kids happy and healthy all through their lives. Instilling the right sun safety habits from a young age is one of the most important ways you can do that.