It’s 1000 Degrees Outside; 5 Tips to Beat the Heat and Keep Your Kids Outside

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The week I send my kids to YMCA day camp it naturally breaks 100 degrees. I’m not not going to send them because it’s fun, it’s paid for and they sure aren’t going to stay home with me all week. After working for two summers as a camp counselor for residential camp I learned a few tricks on how to stay outside in the 100+degree heat and not only survive but have fun. Being a parent has only honed those skills.

Tip #1–Mornings and Evenings are for Outside Time
Do not let them sleep in. I repeat, do not let them sleep in. The sun is creeping up upon the horizon? Then so are they. Get those kids out of bed, toss a bagel at them and kick them outdoors. This is the time to ride bikes, go to the park, and hit the zoo. Once 10am and 90 degrees starts to creep in, it’s time to start heading for home. Unless it’s brutally humid AND hot, temperatures start to fall around 6 pm. So feed those hungry hoards dinner and once again, kick them outside! Everyone is happier when they’ve spent time outdoors.

Tip #2 Embrace the Siesta
Naptime died an early and embittered death with my last two children. I was the embittered one. So in a fit of parenting brilliance aka desperation, I instituted “quiet time”. This is the hour after lunch my kids spend in their rooms occupying themselves. This is also one of the hottest and sunniest parts of the day. Since they got up with the sun, they are usually pretty tired by this point and a little time on their own helps the rest of the day go more smoothly.

Tip #3 Long Sleeve Rash Guards, Hats, Umbrellas aka Sun Protection
Why oh why can’t local pools realize that when it’s 1000 degrees outside and the pool has no shade, they should open early, close during the afternoon and open again after dinner? You know what I mean, the part of summer where it’s too hot to swim? The worst. That’s where the long sleeve rash guard or swim tee comes into play. These bad boys of beating the heat protect you from getting sun-burnt, protect me from having to slather gallons of expensive sunscreen on whining children, and keep you cool. I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t connect the “keeping you cool” dots until I bought one for myself. When you are standing in waist deep water, the wet swim tee keeps you cool because, “duh” it’s wet. Did I mention they are on sale right now?  Lands End has my favorites(not getting anything from them for say that,  you know, unless they want to send me a swim tee or two). Buy your crew good sunhats(again no love for me from Sunday Afternoon products) with wide brims and toss a light colored umbrella in your car. Walking a couple blocks to your local library isn’t nearly so unbearable when you keep the sun from oppressively beating you down.

Tip #4 Insulated Water Bottles
My kids will drink water all day, as long as it’s icy cold. I found my favorite water bottles on Amazon. They are simple stainless steel water bottles but they key is the holder. Not only is it an insulated water bottle holder but it comes with it’s own strap and even a little place to store keys. Or my obsessively written down phone number just in case my kids get separated from me or are about to be kidnapped. This way they can find someone with a phone(because I’m not giving them a phone) and call me. So I can then freak out because I’m not actually with them. I should probably rethink this plan. But the water bottles are great!

Tip #5 Frozen Bandanas
This one is my favorite. Take a bandanna or cut an old towel into a 12″ by 12″ piece. Fold it into a square. Wet it and lightly wring it out. Then slide it into a ziploc or other waterproof bag. Lay flat in the freezer. Toss into your backpack, lunch box, etc when you are going to be out in the heat. I did this for the boys this week at camp. At lunch they can take these icy cold bandannas, wipe off their faces and then drape them on their necks. They double check to see if I’ve put them in everyday now. Easy way to get my parental gold star for the day.

If I let the weather truly dictate whether or not my children went outside, we would be cooped up roughly 6 months of the year. Instead it’s a point of pride that I can figure out little ways to not only keep them outside but keep them asking to go outside. Granted, if they stay inside they have to clean bathtubs, so maybe that has something to do with their outdoor enthusiasm.  Stay cool!