When the weather changes more often than the balls at Wimbledon, how do you keep your kids cool, calm and collected throughout the day and night, and hold on to some shred of sanity yourself?
I'm astonished that we are never quite prepared for British summertime, likely because the weather changes so often we never know what to expect!
Take last weekend: a morning of brilliant sunshine, an afternoon of mugginess, followed by an almighty thunderstorm.
Or is it just hype? We British like a good moan. How many times have you heard someone saying 'It's too hot!' in the last week?
We British parents fight the same three things every summer as we try to keep our kids cool: thunderstorms, humidity and heat.
Kids and Storms
Thunderstorms don't have to be terrifying for children. They will always be scary for animals, but with kids, you can explain.
I started talking to my kids at an early age about thunder and lightening. I'd hold them up to the window to watch. We'd all gather together, with the kids between my husband and I to make sure they felt safe.
A summer storm is very different to a winter storm, and from an educational point of view, it's a great time to start teaching kids about the weather. During these months, the evenings are not too dark when the storms strike and the relief from the heat with the subsequent rain soothes the most agitated soul.
Humidity however...that's the worst kind of weather to cope with for kids. Even running about in pants doesn't help. Turning on the hose or sprinkler is only a temporary measure too. Sun cream is usually essential because those pesky clouds aren't really protecting you from the sun, so the kids end up sticky and sweaty.
Here's what I've tried so far this summer to battle mugginess:
- Frozen bottles of water in front of a fan - a towel's advisable to catch the drips!
- Open all the windows on the same floor to create a through-breeze - remember to prop the doors open so they don't slam.
- Open windows at the top of the house even if you're occupying the lower floors during the day - this will help to reduce the temperature in the hottest part of the house.
- Run baths which are slightly cooler than usual to chill your kids out before bedtime - this has always worked a treat with my three.
Hot Hot Hot!
When it comes to kids and heat, there are some basic techniques that are easy to implement during the heady months of July and August and with the Met Office forecasting another weekend of sunshine, we can't be prepared enough. Here are my top three tips:
1. Wet wipes are a parent's best friend - pop them in the cool box for a refreshing wipe down at regular intervals.
2. Stock up on fruits like melon and berries, which will tops kids up with extra fluid and vitamins.
3. Have fun freezing your own drinks and lollipops for extra cooling refreshments.
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