During the summer, baby or toddler care isn't as simple as loading up on the sunscreen and bug spray and heading to camp or out to play in the yard. The heat can be challenging and little ones can't tell you what they need. Here are four ways to keep your little one happy and healthy over the remainder of the summer (also be sure to check out my tips for sun protection for the whole family!):
1. Try outdoor naps. There's something about the fresh air and the blended sounds of summer that makes a back yard or balcony the perfect place for baby's nap -- and yours too if at all possible! Whether it's the birds, the breeze, the buzz of lawnmowers, or even the whoosh of traffic, your little one will likely bask in the atmosphere. Depending on your baby's age, you can use a stroller, Moses basket, bouncy seat, or Pack n' Play. Pull up next to baby and enjoy a nap in the shade in your backyard. Use a mosquito net if biting insects are buzzing around.
2. Stay hydrated. Because babies aren't necessarily running around in the heat, pushing extra fluids isn't always top of mind, and even if it is, getting fluids into baby can be challenging if they're weaned and just getting the hang of using a sippy cup. But little ones do sweat and need those extra electrolytes like we do when it's hot out. If drinking more liquids than usual is posing a challenge, provide watery snacks such as watermelon, cucumbers, or peaches. You child will not only love taking a break for such refreshing bites but you'll likely notice that the more adequately hydrated, the more positive the behavior on warm days!
3. Enjoy some cold sensory fun. Keep baby cool, entertained, and engaged with ice! Fill plastic bottles or covered food storage containers of various shapes and sizes with cubed, crushed, or colored ice. Shaking the containers and feeling the cool condensation as the ice melts offers endless fascination for babies and toddlers.
4. Dress the part. Newborns through six-month-old's should be covered up with light, breathable clothing to the extent possible without overheating, while older babies and toddlers can wear shorts and tees (with sunscreen on exposed areas of course). But keep an eye out for heat rash, which will be how your baby's body will tell you it's too warm. If you see reddish bumps develop it's time to take a break from the warmth. Head indoors to cool off and remove sweaty clothing, pat down with cool wet cloths, and let baby run around in their diaper to air dry.