photo by Kari Lynn @lilacsandfern
The perfect sun hat is the one you're kid will actually wear. Sunscreen is great, there is a whole list of natural and safe sunscreens to use on your young family in this blog post here. But all experts agree that the best way to stay protected from the sun is shade.
Wearing a hat does not need to be a topic for waging war with your child. And their may be many times when it's not important to you that they do wear a hat. These are suggestions for the mom who thinks it's important for her child to wear a hat, and finds herself loosing the battle.
How do you get your kid to wear a hat?
Role modeling. Fortunately (and unfortunately) our kids watch everything we parents do. We can tell them all day long to put their hat on, but if we don't have one on ourselves, they may not be as eager to wear theirs.
Start young. If you start putting hats on your infant on a consistent basis, as they grow they will not question the idea of wearing a hat. It will have become a normal piece of clothing, not unlike wearing shoes or a shirt.
Involve them. If they're old enough, let them pick which hat they want. This doesn't mean you hand them the laptop and let them choose just anything out there. But you can come up with a few choices that meet your requirements, and then let your child decide with one is their favorite.
Reward them. If you have a really stubborn hat wearer. And if it's very important to you that your child wears a hat, I think it's okay to offer a reward. If they keep their hat on they get to play down by the water, or they get to play out in the sun instead of under the tree shade. Or if they wear their hat for a certain amount of time, they will get to play for a certain amount of time with out it. (mama gets to decide when those times are.)
Be consistent. I've found that consistency is very important in all things parenting. If your child gets away with something that one magical time, they will continue to fight you until they get it any time they decide. If you say "no", it's important to not let them whine long enough to get a "yes" out of you in the end. If they do, they will forever whine until they get what they want. If after trying all the sweet and easy ways to get your kid to wear a hat, and they are still fighting for "their way" you may need to be prepared to leave the adventure before you're ready. Or to offer a similar and effective natural consequence to teach your child to obey.
Teaching your child to obey not only makes parenting much easier long term, but it also can be a very important skill to have for safety reasons. In the end, children need parents for a reason, because they need someone older and wiser who loves and cares for them and is able to make decisions for them they are not yet capable to make on their own.
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