Summer is approaching, which means fun and sun and unstructured time. No homework! No packing lunches in the morning!
But it also means a new set of challenges. Finding activities. Fighting boredom. And slathering on sunscreen every morning before they go out.
There has been lots of recent news about sunscreen and the harsh chemicals it can contain. The best way to protect our kids is by reducing their exposure to the sun and covering up that skin. Now this is an easier one for boys. Most stores carry cute rash guards that cover their chests and arms, and it’s not difficult to find below-the-knee trunks for our little guys. But what about our daughters? I’ve been more and more dismayed as I shop for full-coverage swimsuit options for my fair-skinned little girl. It seems like most retailers are sending the message that our daughters should have a majority of their skin bare and exposed to the elements. When India was a toddler I got so fed up after a trip to a few store only carrying teeny bikini’s that I finally broke down and bought her a long-sleeved swim set from the boy’s department.
Fortunately I’m seeing more offerings for the pre-teen set, and both my girls have cute rash guards they can throw on when we want some quick sun protection. But their preference is to be in their swimsuits, which means a lot of exposed skin. In fact, both of my girls have been begging for bikinis, which I’ve resisted thus far. I don’t quite understand why there is such a market for bikinis for children, but it’s all their friends seem to wear. I think bathing suits should be about function over fashion, and there is NO WAY you can convince me that tugging on a triangle top and skimpy bottoms makes it easier for girls to be active. At this age, the point of swimwear should be playing.
Not posing on a lounge chair.
Okay, stepping off my soapbox now.
On the sunscreen front, we’ve been trying to move to natural sunscreens to avoid chemicals and parabens. I also have to be careful with my kids because two of them have very sensitive skin – one of my kids has eczema and another is highly sensitive to fragrances. I recently discovered Blue Lizard sunscreen, which is the brand most recommended by pediatricians, dermatologists, and pharmacists. All of their formulas are broad spectrum UVA/UVB coverage (SPF 30+) and their sensitive formula is paraben-free, chemical-free and fragrance-free. Blue Lizard’s bottle changes color from white to blue when it is exposed to harmful UV rays reminding you that it’s time to put on sunscreen.
We keep our sunscreen right by the door and I try to make it a part of our morning routine in the morning. I also keep some in the car for the inevitable days that I forget to apply it in the morning. We also keep another bottle in the beach bag, because on beach days we need a little more protection.
What is your strategy for reducing sun exposure? And what’s the deal with bikinis on little girls? Is it weird or am I being a prude?
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