Sunscreen Struggles: How To Get Your Kid to Let You Lather Them Up

There’s nothing tougher than convincing a toddler or preschooler to wait a minute before jumping into the pool, nothing harder, that is, than convincing them to wait a minute so you can lather them up with sunscreen. If you’ve got a wiggly, wild little one who doesn’t love the feel or experience of putting on sunscreen, check out these tips to help you keep them sun safe and happy at the same time.

Image via Unsplash/ Robert Boston

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Lather up before you leave home

Sometimes kids don’t want to put on sunscreen because they would rather be splashing in the pool or going down the slide at the playground. If your tot is easily distracted and tends to want to rush right into play when you get somewhere fun, consider spreading on their sunscreen before you leave home. While it might feel odd to put on sunscreen in the comfort of your air-conditioned living room, it’s certainly easier than trying to do so as your babe tries to squirm out of your arms poolside.

Try a different texture

If what your babe dislikes about sunscreen is the feel, consider swapping what you use now for a different texture. If you use a traditional liquid sunscreen, try using a spray or foam sunscreen where applicable and using a sunscreen stick for their face. Spray and stick sunscreens don’t typically need to be rubbed in as much either, a major bonus for those kids who like to wiggle!

Sing a silly song

Instead of telling your little one “just hold still for one more minute!” over and over, consider choosing a song that can be sung in the amount of time it takes to apply sunscreen and sing it with your child as you apply. With a tune on their lips, they’ll be less likely to complain and more likely to hold still since they know exactly how much longer it will take.

Try a long-sleeved swim shirt 

When all else fails, consider eliminating the need for quite as much sunscreen application time by purchasing a long-sleeved swim shirt or a full body swimsuit for your little one. While you’ll still need to apply sunscreen to their exposed skin, there’ll be less of it which means a much shorter application time.

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Sunscreen Struggles: How To Get Your Kid to Let You Lather Them Up

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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