A Mom’s Guide to Safe Summer Fun
By Christine H.
Here it comes… the season we’ve all been waiting for! Well, it’s probably the season that your children have anticipated with great excitement and you’ve eyed warily throughout spring. After all, it’s so much fun to have extra time with your children. You can take family trips and embark on special projects together. But on the other hand, having your children home with you all day every day can be… trying.
Summer is a wonderful time for children to explore, play, learn things that they can’t learn in school, and spend active time outdoors. That being said, it can also be a time when many children get themselves into trouble. Space away from the discipline of school and homework can allow children to become either more wild and crazy, or listless and bored. All the time outdoors can result in more accidents and injuries, and there are special concerns that apply specially during the summer months.
That being said, you certainly don’t want to just let your children stay inside and miss all the joys of summer. So here are some tips to keep your children safe and well while they have fun in the sun.
It may feel early to worry about your children’s skin aging prematurely, but children’s skin is tender and establishing an early habit to wear sunscreen whenever they spend time outdoors will keep them healthy as they grow up. Sunscreen needs to be utilized even on cloudy days, and it’s not just for those times when you go to the pool or the beach. Keep sunscreen by the door and make sure that your children understand that it’s important. Learn more about the benefits of sunscreen for all ages here.
Beware of Mosquitoes and Pests
Summer isn’t just a heyday for children; it’s also the season that insects and pests thrive. You’ll see mosquitoes swarming in the evenings, and curious children might find themselves drawn to areas where wildlife won’t welcome their presence. So, in order to keep your children safe from pests, take these steps:
- Wear bug spray while camping and in the evenings.
- Learn about what pests to expect when you’re going to different destinations, such as the lake or a family vacation.
- Check over your yard for things that could be dangerous to children, such as a wasp’s nest or still water that can provide a breeding ground for flies and mosquitoes.
Learn about Stranger Danger
You want your children to have freedom to play outside. Playing outside has numerous health and developmental benefits for children. However, there are always risks, and so it’s also important to educate your child to learn to identify those risks and take appropriate action. Before you let them play in the street, yard, or park alone, sit them down for a talk (or perhaps a refresher course) about stranger danger. Tell them what to do if they are in a situation where they feel uncomfortable, and where they can turn for help if you’re not immediately available. Do a practice run of several situations they might run into while at the park or walking home, so that your children will know how to respond.
Wear Safety Gear
Safety gear like shin guards, knee pads, helmets, and mouth guards are all available for a reason. It’s because they’re necessary for any child who really commits to the game! If your child enjoys playing contact sports, think about investing in a mouth guard from the dentist to protect their teeth and skull. Helmets should be worn at all times if children are biking or skating. And knee pads will keep them from running home with scraped-up knees if they’re playing a pickup game of street hockey.
Keep their Brains Busy
It’s easy for everything that your child learned over the school year to trickle out as the summer months go by. However, keeping their minds busy and active over the summer doesn’t have to be a chore! Enlist their help in science experiments, odd jobs that will engage their mind and creativity, and get them involved in programs that will help them learn something new. This link has some more ideas for keeping your child’s mind sharp over summer.
Set the Example
Most of the above precautions are probably not going to be super-appealing to your children. After all, what child wants to pause for a moment before running outside to join their friends, so that they can apply sunscreen and grab their safety pads? The best way to encourage your children to look after their own safety when you can’t is to set the example yourself. Wear a helmet if you do a family biking trip. Keep your mind active and busy, even though school isn’t pushing you. And protect yourself from environmental hazards like bugs and sunburn. If you start assuming that all of these precautions don’t apply for you, then your children will start to do the same.
"Time spent with cats is never wasted." ~ Sigmund Freud