It’s hot out there! Everyone wants to play outside during these long summer days, but be sure to encourage good habits to keep your family safe and healthy during the hottest days of summer.

Summer heat with kidsOuch! That’s Hot

The dangers of dehydration and heat stroke are well-known, but many don’t realize that exposure to excessive heat and sun can also cause high blood pressure, insomnia, and skin problems. Heat can even affect digestion and brain function! Don’t get us wrong, sunshine provides many good, healthy benefits for your body, but make sure you’re doing everything possible to keep body temperatures regulated when summer days reach 90º or higher. Below are a few healthy habits to encourage during the summer heat.

1. Keep natural sunburn and skin remedies on hand.

Even if you slather on sunblock, long hours in the sun may lead to sunburn, dry skin, and irritation. Keep soothing remedies on hand. A potted Aloe vera plant is an excellent way to ensure easy access to fresh Aloe vera gel at all times. You can also freeze natural Aloe vera gel in ice trays and apply the resulting ice cubes directly to burned or dry skin for instant relief. St. John’s Wort and Arnica Cream are also good remedies for sunburned or irritated skin.

2. Set up a Rehydration Station.

Hydration is the key ingredient in your body’s natural cooling process. Keep hydration foremost in everyone’s mind by setting up a Rehydration Station in a central location of the house. Use a large pitcher and a few cups that are always on-hand and easy-to-reach for the little ones. Infuse the water with cucumber and herbs to add extra cooling power. Some herbs to consider are:

  • Lemon balm
  • Rose petals
  • Marshmallow leaves
  • Peppermint
  • Lemongrass

If the kids get bored with the same old water infusions every day, try changing it up by adding coconut water to the mix or one of these healthy summer drinks.

3. Cool down at night for better sleep.

If soaring temperatures leave you or your children tossing and turning at night in frustrated discomfort, try one of the following methods to cool down at bedtime:

  • Stick a favorite pillow, plush toy, blanket, or even sheets into the freezer several hours before bedtime. Bring them to bed with you for some cooling comfort during nighttime hours.
  • Soak a sheet or thin towel in cool water and wring it out thoroughly. Use the damp fabric as a blanket at bedtime for long-lasting comfort.

4. Organize supervised backyard water games.

If you grew up with a backyard, you likely remember a few of these:

  • Set up some sprinklers and watch the kids run through them to their heart’s content.
  • Host a water balloon or water gun fight.
  • Invest in a Slip-and-Slide or wading pool.
  • If you have a large freezer, put a bunch of toys in a large bucket or plastic container of water. Freeze it and let children use digging tools to excavate the toys.
  • Dissolve sidewalk chalk in water to create washable spray paint. Pour the liquid chalk into spray bottles and let the kids spray the sidewalk, the swing set, or each other. Don’t worry! Liquid chalk can be rinsed off easily with water.

Remember to supervise outdoor playtime carefully, making sure everyone stays hydrated, skin is protected from the sun, and everyone takes breaks to rest in the shade when feeling overheated.

5. Spritz on some rose water.

Rose water is naturally cooling and calming, with astringent and anti-inflammatory properties that instantly soothe the skin and senses when you’re feeling overheated. Spritz on Rose Water Spray Mist liberally when you or the kids need a quick cooling off. Water infused with peppermint tincture can have a similar effect.

6. Encourage body-cooling nutrition.

Try to avoid an excess of foods that increase your body temperature, such as fatty proteins, spicy foods, root vegetables, fried foods, and hot soup. Caffeine and soda are also not a good idea when temperatures are soaring. Instead, opt for cooling foods that contain a high water content, like fruits, vegetables, and yogurt.

7. Take breaks during peak daylight hours.

Between 12 and 4 pm, the sun is strongest and temperatures reach their peak. Whenever possible, schedule summertime outdoor activities for the morning and evening hours. Use those hottest peak hours to incorporate restful indoor activities, like painting or crafts, reading, or a good long nap.

8. Dress appropriately.

As tempting as it may be to dress kids in cute sporty clothes, most sportswear incorporates synthetic fabrics that can actually increase the core body temperature. Look for lightweight, natural fabrics like cotton, linen, or silk; all of these materials are breathable and absorb sweat to help the body cool itself. Also don’t forget wide-brimmed hats or ball caps to keep little faces well-shaded.

9. Make your own ice cream and popsicles.

Here’s a fun activity that is both diverting and flavorful. Use a simple popsicle mold to make healthy popsicles out of fresh fruit purees, yogurt, and juices. If you have an ice cream maker, experiment with different recipes to create everyone’s favorite cold treats. These will be the perfect refreshments to relieve overheated bodies coming in from the summer sun.

July and August are usually the hottest months of the year, so keep these tips and tricks in mind as the next heatwave blazes through. You can also read more about healthy family lifestyles on the Living Clean blog:

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