Summer is well and truly here – but while some of us are used to the warmth, others struggle to cope with exceptionally high temperatures.
It can be an especially difficult time for those with babies or small children. As well as making sure they don’t overheat, parents have to deal with disturbed sleep and the moods that being over-tired brings – for themselves, as well as their kids!
We’ve got a few suggestions to help cool things down this summer.
1Shut out the sun
While it’s good to see the sun, your home will be much cooler if you block it out. Keep blinds and curtains drawn during the day, especially if you’ve got large windows. If you can, though, leave windows open to create a through-breeze and leave some small gaps so the air can move freely.
Hot air rises, and you’ll definitely notice the difference in temperature when you go upstairs. This also makes it much harder to sleep, so be flexible about bedtime while the intense heat lasts. The floor will be cooler than the bed, and downstairs will be cooler still – so if the kids want to move around, let them. It might be easier to sleep on the sofa, a foldout bed, or you could even take a mattress downstairs.
3Hands and feet
Cool down the pulse points in wrists, feet and ankles by running them under cold water – it really does help reduce body temperature. A cool or lukewarm bath or shower just before bed is refreshing too and will make hot little bodies feel more comfortable.
4Eat little and often
Most of us lose our appetites to some extent in the hot weather, and that’s no bad thing. As the body works to process larger meals, it needs metabolic heat – which warms it up. Regular small, light meals are a much better choice, especially for younger ones.
5Send heat through the roof
If you have a hatch or doorway into your loft or ceiling space, open it – it will make it easier for the heat to escape.
6A cooling boost
If you have electric fans, you might feel sometimes that all they do is move the hot air around. Place a large bowl of ice or frozen water bottles in front of them to cool the air as it circulates. If you don’t have a fan, large bottles of frozen water in the room at night (at least one litre) can help keep the temperature down as they melt.
7Don’t forget to drink
Staying hydrated is essential during hot weather – we lose more fluid than we realise through sweating. Water is best, but don’t worry if your kids insist on flavouring it with cordial – it’s better than not drinking. Keep plenty of drinks in the fridge, and make sure they sip regularly throughout the day. If you’ve got a baby in the house, remember to keep plenty of cooled, boiled water available.
Loose, lightweight cotton clothes are best for the hot weather. Avoid anything tight or restrictive, especially for small babies. Remember that light colours reflect the heat, while darker shades absorb it.
9Carry a spray bottle
Buy a cheap spray bottle from a houseware or garden store and fill it with cold water; keep it in the refrigerator at home and spritz yourself and the kids regularly. Alternatively, some places stock small, hand-held battery-powered fans that attach to a water bottle.
10Get ahead with a hat
This is a pro sports trick. Pour a little ice-cold water into a hat or cap, then quickly put it on your child’s head. It will cool them down, and the initial chill will make it a fun game too.
11Avoid the sun
It sounds obvious, but if the hot weather is something of a novelty it can be tempting to spend as much time in it as possible. Avoid activities in direct sunlight and stay indoors when the sun is at its peak – typically between 11am and 3pm. If you must go out, remember to use sunscreen to protect delicate skin.