Before you had your baby, I am sure you longed for endless hot days when you could sunbathe lazily, topping up your tan and enjoying the sun on your face. Life with a baby is somewhat different though. For a start the idea of lazy days seems very far away but the problem is the heat itself. You are constantly told by the midwife, health visitor and other medical professionals not to let your baby over heat, on those few days of sun we get in the UK that can feel like a genuine challenge.
In this post we will give you some top tips to keeping baby cool and explore some activities you can do with baby on hot days.
Keeping Your Baby Cool
Let's start with our top practical tips to keeping your baby cool this summer;
If your baby is less than 6 months old avoid direct sunlight if at all possible. Their skin has very little natural protection from the sun. Even older babies should not be in the sun for long especially throughout the hottest hours of 11am – 3pm. Use a sunshade on their pushchair if you can’t avoid being out at this time. Dress your baby in loose, light materials and don’t forget the sunhat!
Babies over 6 months can have sun lotion but make sure you buy an SPF of over 20 and one that also includes protection against UVA and UVB rays – look for products designed for young skin as some are full of harmful and irritating additives and alcohols. Also find a waterproof product.
Keeping your baby hydrated in the heat is a priority; breastfeeding babies don’t need anything extra as the milk will water down according to the heat just make sure you are feeding more than normal. Bottle feeding babies can have additional cool boiled water throughout the day and possibly at night too.
If your baby is weaning then you can introduce exciting options to aid hydration including diluted fruit juice, ice cubes and homemade fruit lollies. There are also lots of foods that have a heavy water content including fruits and salad. These offer hydration and a combination of vitamins and antioxidants that supports your baby’s health in a variety of ways.
To keep the room your baby sleeps in cool, resist temptation to let the glorious sunshine in and instead keep the curtains shut. You can use a fan to circulate the air and buy a nursery thermometer to check the temperature stays between 16C and 20C. At night, avoid any heavy clothes and bedding, if necessary just let your baby sleep in a well fitted nappy.
Now how about some fun for a sunny day?
Activities to Enjoy at Home
You might want to try these activities in a shady spot outside, but they will also work inside the house. Perhaps put down a plastic messy mat or some towels to contain any mess or splashes.
For a great sensory experience for your little one, and a contrast to the heat give them some ice to explore. Just some ice cubes on a dish or tray are fantastic for them to investigate. Not only will they be able to feel the cold sensation of the touch of the ice, but see the shape of the ice change and water start to appear as the ice melts. A simple but valuable science lesson!
How about letting your little one experience the ice with other parts of their body too?
If your child is a little older you might want to take the exploration further and place items into water before you freeze it. For small items you can use a normal ice cube tray. For bigger items and a bigger challenge, how about using a balloon to hold your water and item as they freeze, removing it before play time to leave a ball of ice with a surprise inside! This could be anything from leaves or flowers (such as those in the picture) to a small toy. Can your little one work out what is inside the ice and how to get to it?
Even simpler and requiring little or no preparation, why not enjoy some water play with your little one.
A small paddling pool is ideal for letting your baby have a splash in some cool water. Just a centimetre or two is enough for your baby to experience the sensations and properties of the water, with just their feet or hands, or with their whole body. Do some splashing, or make some small waves so the water washes over your babies body in different ways, there are all sorts of ways to bring the fun and learning while cooling off!
If you don't have, or don't want to use a pool though, a simple bowl or small container of water can also provide hours of fun for your baby or toddler. Add some small cups or containers for tipping and pouring or some bath toys for squirting the water around the bowl.
You can even practice some sign language as you play. Here is the sign for splash! Bring your hands towards each other with fingers bent then open the fingers out wide as you move the hands apart.
Remember to say the word as you sign it, really emphasising the shhh sound, and then splash the water to help your little one make the connection between the word, the sign and the action. A fun one for bath time too.
Getting Out and About
If you want to get out of the house, here are some great places to go to keep cool;
1) The Aquarium
These are very cool places to visit and not just because of the temperature. These indoor attractions get you out of the dangerous rays of the sun and provide your baby with a fascinating display. The aquarium offers something of interest and intrigue for adults, children and babies. The close proximity to water makes it a physically colder place than outside.
2) The Pool
There is nothing more satisfying than stepping into cool water on a hot day – you can either run a cool bath, set a pool up outside in the shade or if you are feeling brave, make a visit to your local swimming baths. Most towns have an outside pool within travelling distance too but if you do decide on this option, make sure you go outside of the midday sun and you find shade when you get there.
3) The Library
Mostly now situated in cool airy buildings with air con, libraries are a fantastic escape from the outside world; physically and metaphorically. Libraries often hold special story sessions for Tots but even if it’s just the two of you, exploring early literature, developing a love of books and nurturing strong communication skills is the perfect way to spend a hot summer’s afternoon.
Stay Cool with Tots Play
Of course another activity to do on a hot summer’s day is to seek shelter inside at a Tots Play class.
Spend quality, focused time together learning new and engaging ways to play with your baby or toddler and keep cool together, perhaps including some of the activities described above, along with music, yoga, massage and more. To find your nearest class to keep cool in click HERE.
Lots of our locations have special summer themed sessions running throughout the summer months too, but places are limited so check out what's available in your area and make sure to reserve your place today.
Whatever you get up to for as long as this hot weather lasts, enjoy this special time with your little one, for whom everyday is a new adventure.
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