What is it about summer we love so much? The warmth, the sun, the long days, the time away from work, times away from home, visits from friends and family. So much is packed into those few months, and we want them to be great.
And most of the time they are. But all that hot summer weather sometimes gets the better of us (and our kids). As parents we often find that the heat just zaps our energy and wouldn’t it be great to just lie around and take it easy? Problem is, our kids, be they babies, toddlers, preschoolers or young school age kids, still need us to be awake, aware, attentive and responsive. We need to be energetic, even if we don’t have the energy.
Kids too feel the heat and can get uncomfortable and grouchy. They get easily frustrated and have little patience. Sometimes the heat slows them down, but they still want to do things and they still want your attention, and if they’re little, they want you to make them feel better.
So it can get a little dicey in the heat and easy for tempers to flare. But with some forethought and awareness, you can minimize meltdowns (not only in the summer, but generally).
Most importantly, take care of everyone’s physical needs. It’s very easy to get dehydrated in hot weather, and the more active you (or your kids) are the easier it is. Dehydration results in a variety of symptoms, all of which make you and your kids feel yucky. Among these symptoms are dry mouth, fatigue, headache, muscle ache, hunger, lack of mental clarity and low and/or dark urine output. Sound familiar?
It’s amazing how magical a drink of water can be to help you feel better. Make a point of having water easily accessible all day to everyone in the family. Keep some in the fridge with a few slices of lime, lemon or cucumber in it. Make some decaffeinated lightly flavoured herbal tea to keep in the fridge or an insulated water container. Give your kids sippy cups or water bottles to keep with them as they play.
If you are breastfeeding, give your babies lots of access to the breast, and make sure you are well hydrated as well. Breastfed babies do not require extra water. Even babies who live in desert climates get enough water from breastmilk.
Aside from thirst, hunger also results in short tempers. Be sure to remember to feed everyone good, wholesome nutritious food. Many parents find that “meltdowns” occur when their kids are hungry. Smaller, more frequent meals or snacks can be better in the heat. Some ice cream is great, but limit the candy and pop. There are so many great fresh fruits and vegetables available this time of year. Frozen cut up fruit makes a great refreshing snack at home.
Another way to make sure everyone feels good is to have enough sleep. The heat can keep anyone awake, so be sure your kids aren’t overdressed, they have air circulation in their rooms, keep fans on (air conditioners on low if you have them) and, if they are old enough for covers, light sheets if they want them.
If your kids are still napping, take advantage of it and have a short nap yourself. You’ll probably feel much better.
In Canada our summers are so short, we need to enjoy them as best we can. The better everyone feels, the more patient we’ll be and the more fun we’ll have.