My kids squirm. They don’t like how it feels. They assure me that they are immune to sunburn.
I wish that was the case.
Getting in the sunscreen habit is tricky. I am on board with the benefits of sun protection. I’m even okay with the squirmy protest because that’s better than enduring sunburn recovery. The squirmy protest is also worth preventing skin cancer.
I’ve started using a little game to get the sunscreen on quickly and well on necks and faces. Even on those adorable ears. These areas seem to be the most difficult for my kids to endure.
Start with your prize-and-joy in front of you while you are sitting or kneeling down.
Step 1: Ask them to be a puffer fish and look at ceiling (or sky). Apply broad spectrum sunscreen to their neck, taut cheeks, forehead, and nose.
Step 2: Ask them to look down at your toes. Wiggle them as you slather the back of their neck and then a final rub on their ears.
This routine will speed up with each time you do it. They will understand your expectations and it’s almost like a little game.
Here are the current recommendations for sunscreen from the special scientists that make up the rules. (This time it’s the US Food and Drug Administration. But you’ll find the same recommendations at the Skin Cancer Foundation, The Melanoma Foundation, and the American Academy of Dermatology.)
- Look for the bottle to be clearly labeled “broad spectrum.” (This covers two kinds of rays, UVA and UVB.)
- Look for SPF 30 or higher.
- Reapply every 2 hours, or more frequently if you are sweating a lot or jumping in and out of water.
- Don’t be stingy. Use enough to really coat your skin. If you don’t, you won’t receive the full SPF protection listed on the bottle. (I just learned this researching for this post. Crazy, no?)