So the moment of truth arrives. The reality is, a lot of kids really don’t like and resist applying sunscreen. I know, I have two boys and sometimes it is a frustrating process. Patience, as with all things, is key. So is a bit of understanding and good old fashioned ingenuity. Here’s a bit of mine.
It’s important to remember that most kids are very visual and literal. They learn best through and enjoy multi-sensory experiences. Remember, kids need more time than adults to process information and they will always be more proactive and engaged if they are empowered to make choices on their own. A few thoughts:
The Gift Of Time: Don’t rush them through the application process – again, they need more time to process information.
The Sunscreen Place: Find a place in or around your house where clean up is easy or not an issue. You want to make children a part of the process from an early age, which can get a little messy. Make sunscreen a fun, actively healthy ritual, not a rushed afterthought.
Start with one body part: Let them choose it – and give them enough product to make it happen. It engages them, gives them a task and empowers them to be responsible for taking care of themselves. It also keeps them busy while you slather the rest of their body. I also let them “paint” my face or arms with sunscreen; why not? I can use all the help I can get and it keeps them entertained and engaged in the process.
Kids learn by example: Make sure they see you apply your own sunscreen. Talk about sunburn and sun damage as health risks. Make the correlation by presenting examples of how the oxidation occurs, show them rusty metal, let them smell a rancid oil and show them pictures of what happens to skin from sun damage – photoaged skin.
The Power of Choice: If your kids continue to object to sunscreen, give them the choice not to use it – with the choice being that they must stay in the shade. Kids like to make their own choices. If they sit on the sidelines at the beach long enough, they will eventually make their own choice to apply the sunscreen so they can go splash in the water or kick the ball or what have you. Don’t let the battle be about applying the product, make it about staying out of the sun.
I’ve enjoyed this week’s journey with you on the topic of sunscreen. I got to catch up on the industry buzz as well as listen to some of your biggest concerns in the process. I truly embrace the opportunity to hear your feedback and love to get questions from parents about skincare for babies and kids. You are most welcome to join in our conversation on facebook. You can also find a library of my skincare articles on our website.