5 Ways to Get Kids to Wear Sunscreen

June 23, 2014

The other day, we received the following email from a Toronto nanny:

I am looking after a 4-year old boy that completely refuses to wear any sunscreen. He says he hates the smell and that it is sticky and stings his eyes. His parents really insist that he wears sunscreen and a hat. I am worried it is going to affect my relationship with the parents. Any suggestions?

It can be challenging to get children to wear sunscreen. Just standing still for long enough to apply it can be hard for some kids. Here are some tips we've heard of (and used!) that may help you:

  • Have the child choose the sunscreen. Some children may prefer to use a stick instead of a spray. If they make the choice, it's harder for them to argue against using it.
  • Encourage them to apply the sunscreen themselves. You'll need to cover any spots they miss, of course.
  • Apply sunscreen before they're ready to start any activity. If you bring them to the beach or pool, they want to start playing right away and it will be more challenging. Taking the time before you get there may save you a scene later.
  • If the child is old enough, discuss some of the side effects of not wearing sunscreen. If you are the caregiver, you may want to work on this approach with the parents.
  • Set a good example! If you apply sunscreen before going out and wear a hat, the children will follow your lead.

What about you? Do you have any tricks to getting sunscreen on your child?

More on this topic: - Health & Safety

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