Mother and Baby

How to keep toddler cool

Section: Toddler

When the temperature is high it’s often the littlest people who cope worst, and it can be stressful when you have a fractious toddler or baby who isn't comfortable in the heat.

Hopefully, our hints and tips will make hot weather slightly more bearable and make you both a bit more calm, cool and collected.

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1) Fraying tempers

When it’s super-hot, expect more tantrums than usual, and possibly some tears, as the warmer weather makes it harder for small kids to cope. You might notice that your non-napper seems exhausted enough for a sleep.

If this is the case, it’s sometimes best to allow them a nap at the hottest part of the day so they have enough energy to keep going and also so your afternoon will be a far easier few hours.

It’s also wise to be out of direct sunlight between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its hottest. Try to get your errands run early on in the day – let’s be honest, you’re unlikely to get a lie in, anyway!
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2) Water works

It might be approaching 30 degrees but you can’t keep the kids indoors all day. Create a shady space, if your garden doesn’t have any, and set up toys and books on a rug.

Water is also a great way to entertain children while also keeping them cooler. A paddling pool is an investment you won’t regret as little ones can splash around (and you can dip your feet in too!)

You can also give toddlers a sponge and a tub of water and let them wash their toys, paint the fence with water or do a DIY ‘car wash’ on their trike or scooter.
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3) Eating outside

Eating meals outside in the shade is another great distraction and makes mealtime more like an adventure.

When it comes to food, it’s another way to keep children hydrated: plenty of veg sticks and fruit and who doesn’t love an ice lolly?! Have drinks bottles or sippy cups topped up and available all the time and encourage kids to drink often.

If you’re breastfeeding, your milk will adapt to hydrate your baby but offer a feed regularly as babies can become dehydrated very quickly.
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4) Stay sun safe

It goes without saying that hot sunny days call for plenty of Factor 50 but keep re-applying it throughout the day, especially if water play is involved.

Some one-application formulas are available too, but don’t forget to apply your own sunscreen!

They might be thrown off or lost at regular intervals but sun hats will also keep the pounding heat off kids’ heads. Dress children in loose, cotton clothing, in pale colours if possible.

If you’re pushing an exhausted baby or toddler in a pram or buggy, resist the temptation to drape a blanket or muslin over them. You might think you’re creating shade but actually the material will trap hot air and overheat the little one.

Use the pram’s sunshade or parasol to keep them out of direct sunlight instead.
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5) When the sun goes down

 Bedtime can be a tricky moment on a hot day. While children will be exhausted from playing in the heat, they won’t appreciate a bedroom which is too warm.

Drawing curtains when the room is at its coolest can help, as well as keeping the room ventilated.

Strip little ones out of their usual pyjamas or sleep suits and let them sleep in a vest and replace usual duvets or sleeping bags with single sheets or light weight bags instead. Fingers crossed for some well-earned rest!

What do you do to keep your little ones cool in the summer? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

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  • Author: Joanna Dunbar Joanna Dunbar
  • Job Title: Contributing writer

As a freelance writer, Jo covers parenting, health and lifestyle with the odd opinion-based rant and celebrity interview thrown in.

Before freelancing (and juggling journalism with two young sons), Jo was on staff at Good Housekeeping, Bella, Woman and The Mail on Sunday. When not typing furiously or refereeing the kids, Jo can be found pulling on her trainers for a gentle run or baking up a storm in her quest to produce the perfect brownie batch.


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