As parents, seeing the sunshine during our summer months is in many ways a dream come true. When the sun is shining it’s easier for kids to play outside, day trips don’t become a wash out and the increased amount of washing that seems to mount over the holidays is simpler to handle too.
However, for all of the benefits a heatwave brings there are equally niggling problems. The hot weather can cause children to become overheated, tired and stroppy.
While consistently warm weather hasn’t always been a familiar factor in UK summers, experts predict it is something we may have to start coming to terms with thanks to global climate change. So, let’s take a little look at ways you can tackle rising temperatures to quell any tantrums.
It’s not just modern compact homes that can become heat traps in hot weather, old style homes can also suffer from a lack of ventilation that can cause rooms to heat up fast. When you are out and about you can keep curtains closed so that rooms don’t heat up but this isn’t so easily done when you have kids on the premises to entertain.
If you’re in the house or moving between it and your outside space, your best bet is to create a breeze. You could try putting windows on the latch, opening doors for air to pass through or for the ultimate in airy indulgence, fold back your bi-fold doors. It’s not just aesthetics that have driven sales of bi-folds in recent years, it’s also practicality. When hot weather descends it’s lovely to be able to peel back windows the full length of your wall and invite the fresh air in. If your home features traditional rather than modern styling hunt out wood bi-folds like these from Creative Doors Direct.
Don’t live somewhere where opening windows and doors is an option? If you’re on the fifth floor and need to consider safety or are in close proximity to neighbours, you may be considering splashing out on air conditioning. Rather than fitting a system throughout your home you could buy a more budget-friendly standalone unit, which can then be moved with you to whichever room you’re in at the time. If you’re suddenly overcome with heat but don’t want to make a long-term investment, you could also consider hiring an air con unit.
How often do you walk passed your TV or computer and feel a little heat radiating from the screen? Leaving gadgets on standby can produce heat, so while you may be turning on fans and other air cooling devices make sure you are turning other electrics off where possible. This is something we are not very good at in our house.
What to wear and what to eat
Wearing a hat will help to keep kids cool and can help guard against heat stroke. Where possible, keep them covered up in lightweight cotton clothing that’s breathable and choose light colours to reflect the heat.
When it comes to cooling treats, ice cream is nice but thanks to the fat and sugar content it isn’t the best way to cool them down every day.
You can try low sugar ice lollies to keep them hydrated or serve them up bowls of frozen pineapple or mango that have been allowed to defrost a little. The latter are widely available in supermarkets and are a really affordable way to keep them topped up with vitamins too. A frozen banana is another healthy alternative to ice cream, is easy for smaller hands to hold and is a great use for slightly too ripe fruit. Simply peel, wrap in cling film and freeze. Just don’t forget to allow it to soften a little rather than eating fresh out of the freezer.
In summer we often tend to subconsciously adopt a grazing attitude to food – eating smaller snacks more often. Eating large meals, particularly those rich in protein, can cause your temperature to rise as your body works harder to metabolise your meal. With this in mind you may want to plan smaller more regular meals.
You could consider including some curries in your weekly meal plan too because spicy food has been shown to cool you down. Luckily for us both our girls love curry as much as we do. Whatever you do, try not to let kids wash meals down with too much cola as caffeine will warm them up.
To help them sleep
One of the reasons warmer weather can become a time of sibling arguments and toddler tantrums is lack of sleep. We Brits simply aren’t used to trying to sleep in hot temperatures.
Give little ones a helping hand by ensuring you have summer linen on their beds – perhaps adding a single cotton sheet cover they can opt to sleep under instead of a duvet. You could also try freezing bed sheets folded in freezer bags before popping them on the bed. Gel pillows are a wonderful invention too. Simply chill the inserts in the fridge and slip inside your pillow covers to help them drift off.
Simply imagining yourself in a cooler environment can help persuade your body that you’re more comfortable than you really are, so if you can bear to watch it again, it may be time to start watching the Frozen DVD as a family before bedtime!
Have you got any top tips for keeping cool in the summer?
*This is a collaborative post*