Summer Safety Tips
The past few weeks have been sweltering here in the beautiful Charlotte Metro. Temperatures have been holding fast in mid-90’s with heat indexes over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a tricky time of year planning outdoor time and enough gross motor for growing toddlers. At our school we follow state guidelines regarding temperature safety. Long story short, when the temperature outside is above 90 all people need to take precautions to stay safe while outdoors. Here are some tips and tricks I use in the classroom to make the hot days more bearable.
-When the temperature or heat index is near 90 degrees limit outside time to 15-20 minute intervals. Make sure you have ample time to cool off and rehydrate in between.
-Be mindful of the days forecast and plan outside time during the cooler hours of the day, or when you play area is the most shaded.
-Wear sunscreen, and reapply as needed. Sun hats, and swim shirts with SPF are great for toddlers because they provide more lasting coverage. Also when applying sunscreen to toddlers, I forego putting sunscreen on their hands, to prevent the child from rubbing it in their eyes.
-Keep plenty of cold water on hand. We also use ice-pop molds to make coconut water popsicles for extra hydration, without the sugar and dye of normal popsicles. Coconut water is great for hydration because it replaces electrolytes.
-On the hottest of days we use a spray bottle with fresh cool water and a fine mist setting to help the children keep cool. We always ask before spaying the children to best respect their wishes. If your school policies allow you can also add a drop or two of essential oils to add some sensory benefits to this activity. I like lavender or eucalyptus.
-We always talk through weather conditions with the children so they can advocate for themselves if they are feeling too hot or uncomfortable.
-Water activities are fun and can help children keep cool. Always be mindful of the temperatures and sun during these times. Just because the child may not be feeling the effects of the heat does not mean their body isn’t.
-When returning indoors from hot temperatures always allow time for the children to cool their bodies before offering meals. This will hopefully prevent some upset stomachs.
-The most important thing to remember is that, though children love to be outside the heat and sun does take its toll on them. It is very draining and can cause emotions to run high, but because you are aware of this you can have compassion for the child who is acting out because they are hot and cranky.
All of these are great reminders, but some days it is just too hot to go outside at all. Prepare for this by planning gross motor and sensory activities for the inside. Here are some of my favorites:
-The freeze game
-Sit and Spin or push carts
-Sand and water sensory bin
-Coffee grounds sensory bin
-Shaving cream, goop, water beads
-New songs and books
No matter what Mother Nature throws your way I hope these tips help you and your children have a fantastic summer.