Everyone talks about the summer in hushed, reverent tones, as if the season can do no wrong. As if the season only has good points, and no negatives. If you dare to mention parts that you don’t like, you’re told to be quiet and that you’ll regret it in the depths of winter. Well, you’re not alone. From the growing boredom in the long holidays, to the skin ravaged by insect bites, there’s plenty of reasons to dislike the summer. For your children, it can be hard to stay cool, eat well, keep entertained, and enjoy themselves. Meanwhile your pets suffer from dehydration, heat exhaustion and sore paws. So, here’s your guide to keeping your family together through the worst, hottest parts of the summer – so you’re all in one piece by the time the fall brings its cooler climate.
Staying cool at night
One of the hardest things to cope with as a parent is a tired child, and no child is more tired than ones who wants to sleep but can’t because of the heat. You need to do all you can to keep your little ones cool and calm before bedtime, as well as ensuring that their room and your home is doing the best it can for them.
Address your child’s room first. If you’re lucky enough to get cool breezes, put up fly nets so you can have the windows open. If that’s not a possibility, look at getting a fan or two. You can get quiet but powerful ones, so you don’t need to worry about the noise. Putting a bottle of ice water in front of a fan will blow cold air around the room, so that’s worth doing. Keep on doing things like keeping the curtains closed all day to keep the sun out.
Next, look at bedding. To give them the comfiest night’s sleep, only buy sheets made from 100 percent cotton. It’ll keep them cool and wick away any moisture caused by sweating overnight. You might want to get a light sheet to replace any quilts or duvets, if your child won’t sleep without anything covering them. Likewise, make sure their pajamas are made from cotton too.
Finally, before bed, make sure your children are nice and cool. A cold shower or bath will lower their body temperature, as will running cold water over their wrists and feet. You can try laying cold flannels over their heads too as they lie in bed, or freezing a hot water bottle, and tucking it in with them. Whenever you use ice, just be careful that it doesn’t ever touch skin directly. Always wrap it in a piece of fabric.
Entertaining them through the holidays
The summer vacation is always pined for throughout the school year, but after the initial two weeks of euphoria, the novelty quickly wears off. You need to keep your children occupied and entertained, else you risk having a house full of cranky kids with too much energy. As it’s likely to be too hot to do much during the day, make the most of early mornings and get out for a cycle or walk first thing in the morning when it’s much cooler.
During the day, pick activities that won’t make your children get hot. Swimming and water sports are the perfect summertime activities, as they’ll stay cool while being outside and active. See if you can find any local facilities that will let your children either get started, or develop existing skills.
Making the house a safe, cool refuge
Now, time to look at your pets, as it’s not just us humans who suffer in the heat. Your pet should be allowed to roam around outside or cool off indoors. So, make sure they can get in and out as often as they need. If you can set up some shade or shelter in the back yard, they might be more comfortable out there.
For both your children and your pets, you need to keep a close eye on any insect activity. Summer is a key time for swarms and infestations settling in, and you don’t want any pests getting too comfy. If you spot anything that you’re worried about, get in touch with local professionals, like Go-Forth Pest Control in Wake Forest NC. The closer they are to you, the better, as you’ll be able to get them out and on the job much more quickly.
Keeping them healthy and hydrated
Your children will struggle in the heat if they aren’t drinking enough or eating well. Even though appetites tend to decrease in hot weather, you need to try to make sure your children are still eating a well-rounded diet.
For pets, it can be much harder to make them drink. You could try putting treats in their water bowl, or putting ice cubes in their food. Once the ice cubes melt, they’ll create a tasty soup that your animals will love lapping up. If you’ve got a dog, think carefully about exercising. Hot sidewalks can burn the skin off their paws, so you should only walk them on grass, or when it’s cool. You can test this by pressing the inside of your wrist to the floor. If you can’t hold it there for a minute, it’s too hot for your dog’s feet. When it’s like this, you could look at taking them swimming: they won’t burn, they’ll stay cool, and they’ll still get lots of exercise.
Ensuring no one gets sunburn
Sunburn is one of the most dangerous parts of summer. Not only is it incredibly painful, but it can cause sunstroke and cancer. Prevent your little ones from getting burnt by keeping them indoors during the hottest part of the day, and under shelter or shade for as much time as possible. Buy UV blocking clothes and sunglasses too, to protect any skin under fabric.
Most importantly, slather on as much sunblock as possible. Get the highest factor you can, and reapply it every 30 to 60 minutes.