Too Hot to Handle: Surviving a Heat Wave with Toddlers

21/07/2016 11:23 | Updated 21 July 2016

In case it happens to have passed you by, it's a little bit bloody hot out there.

Unlike the sun which you pay a lot of money for in the name of a relaxing holiday, (or not), you are supposed to just woman up and get on with life as normal despite the fact you're sweating your tits off and no one is sleeping properly.

The whingelets have both been up and whining since 6am and to add in to this delightful mix I have a head cold and a sore throat (hopefully not life threatening) which means my signature enthusiasm for pre breakfast tantrums is waning.

So what the hell do you do when it's too hot to function?

Well, the first day of this Great British Heat Wave was spent in an air conditioned soft play centre. In retrospect that's probably where this (possibly deadly) disease came from. It wasn't actually too bad, as soft plays go. It was cool at least. However even in the name of escaping the heat I couldn't face it more than once a week. Other places that are air conditioned and you might want to spend some time in include the cinema and your car.
If you have a garden, it's the place to be! Yes, it's a bit shit that you can't see your phone screen properly so guess you'll just have to play. Or maybe read a book like old fashioned times.

Outdoor toys are great for the summer. Unless you happen to have more than one child because they will fight incessantly over every bloody thing. We have a garden brimming with plastic crap outdoor toys (I'm not joking, just look)

...And yet the chance of them amusing themselves - happily and fairly quietly - for upwards of five minute is very, very slim.

Maybe a trip to the park (but obviously, not in the midday sun) is a better idea - less stuff to fight over at least -  but be prepared for it to be heaving. At least one kid will have ice cream and it'll be all you'll hear about until you get home.

If you brave the outdoors for any length of time then of course sun cream is a must, however I concede it that applying sun cream to a toddler is a grim job and no mistake. I have yet to find a sun cream that a) applies well b) doesn't make picking up my children like trying to catch a greased up pig (I'd imagine) c) doesn't stain everything it comes into contact with. Don't even talk to me about the sun cream/sand combination that is so popular with toddlers. Thank god we don't live near a beach so we don't have to face that particular hell. That is my kryptonite.

I have no idea who invented hats for babies and small toddlers but I doubt they have met any babies or small toddlers. I have a better chance of getting the dog to wear one. Same goes with baby sunglasses. Nice idea, but apparently using gaffa tap to keep them on is frowned upon. If you have happened upon the magical magical solution to this, I'd love to know.

On the second day of sweltering, we got out the paddling pool. Water is an excellent way of cooling off and amusing the smalls, but I have to supervise them very closely because they do like to put themselves at great danger as often as possible; especially the small one who likes to try to climb in and out with varying degrees of success. No lounging with books here.

The paddling pool always seems like a lovely idea but putting it up is always surprisingly labour intensive. No matter how carefully you put it away last time, it will have a slow leak. It takes an age to fill (which is great because toddlers are so patient) but if you leave it up over night not only will it start to deflate, but it will collect an enormous amount of crud, so you either have to empty it and deflate it every night or else just net out any suicidal slugs and grimace (my preferred option). They only ever spend five minutes in it anyway before the big one is bored and demanding ice cream.

It's not all doom and gloom though; the summer heat has some definite ticks in the 'pros' column. Having a picnic lunch outside is, for some unknown reason, extremely exciting to a toddler and for me it means less hoovering and washing of high chairs. Win/win. They can also run round in the nude, the natural state of the toddler, which means less washing.

A few degrees less when I'm trying to sleep wouldn't go amiss though.

What are your top tips for the summer?