It's summertime, and the living is easy ... and, let's be honest, fraught with worry over keeping kids protected from harmful UV rays.
As any parent can attest to, you need major tantrum management skills, a lot of patience and a few learned-from-experience tricks in your arsenal to make sun safety an easy habit.
And, most importantly, you need to walk the walk because the best way to instill sun smarts in kids is to model them yourself. Research shows children learn by imitating their parents, which means it's up to you to show them the best ways to stay safe outdoors.
Neutrogena is harnessing this knowledge with their #MimicMommy Monday campaign, which kicks off this week and encourages moms to instill sun safety smarts in their kids through daily sunscreen use.
So we went straight to the source and talked to six mom bloggers to get their best tips for keeping their kids protected from sunburns.
"We take an artistic approach." Chelsea Day, blogger at Someday I'll Learn
"My kids call their face sunscreen 'war paint,' and we use a makeup brush to apply it, taking turns putting it on. They love decorating me!
Not only does this make the experience more pleasurable for them, but it also helps with thorough application. They sit patiently while I get it under their eyes and all around their neck, ears and lips."
"We sport matching shades." Andrea Arterbery, blogger at The ArtofBery
"My son and I both love to wear sunglasses during the summertime. Not only is it fashionable, but it also helps protect our eyes from harmful UV rays, which can cause cataracts. Always choose a pair with a label that states full UVA and UVB protection.
I usually buy two to three new pairs of shades each season for us both and keep them in the car, as well as my handbag, so we always have a pair handy. I love picking out pairs for us—they really are the best way to show your personality!"
"We're early birds." Charity Mathews, blogger at Foodlets
"My advice? Always plan around the sun. To avoid the most intense rays of the early afternoon, we start and end our summer days outside.
Timing is key, and when I say ‘timing,’ I mean getting everyone out the door before the temperature hits 85. Because the North Carolina sun waits for no one!
So the second those breakfast dishes hit the dishwasher, I round up my kids for a bike ride to burn some energy before settling in for the rest of the morning back at home to do craft projects and chores to avoid getting burned."
"We apply sunscreen in advance." Eileen Lamb, blogger at The Autism Cafe
"According to the American Academy of Dermatology, sunscreen needs to be applied 15 minutes before going outside, so we always prepare ahead of time. If you wait, you might as well be wearing no sunblock for those first minutes you're outdoors.
My oldest son has classic severe non-verbal autism, so I know how difficult it can be to put sunscreen on kids. My tip: apply it while they're strapped into a high chair or in their car seat to keep them stationary, which is ideal for escape artists. I also put the sunscreen on my own face first, so my sons see that it's something we all do.
Plus, now my kids know that when we're getting sunscreen put on, it means we're going somewhere fun!"
"We seek out shade." Whitney Wingerd, blogger at Mommies with Style and member of the Neutrogena IGNITE network of influential moms
"I've been keeping my kids out of the sun since they were infants. My m.o. is that if you can't find shade, make your own!
Take your picnics under a tree, and bring an umbrella with you. In fact, I always have a clip-on umbrella in the back of my car for sports activities—I attach it to my soccer mom chair so I'm always in the shade, plus it keeps me cool."
"We cover up in style." Sheri Silver, blogger at Donuts, Dresses and Dirt
"Sun-protective clothing is my first line of defense against the sun.
I love to wear a long-sleeved rash guard for swimming, or a long-sleeved shirt at the beach. My son always wears board-style swim trunks and a swim shirt so much of his body, arms and legs are covered.
It's even better if you can manage to pop on a hat, but that admittedly gets more challenging as kids get older and are in and out of the water!"