I don’t know about you, but this heat is already kicking my arse. It’s bad enough when you’re having to deal with the effects of the heat when you’re more used to the kind of damp mediocrity we call ‘weather’ here in the South East, but when you’re stuck at home all day (and night) with small children who are also adversely affected it can be a new form of hell entirely.
From lack of sleep to the more serious worries about sunburn and heat stroke, looking after small people in hot weather is a stressful business. A stressful business only made worse when, instead of lounging by a pool in a tile-lined mediterranean villa designed for the heat, you’re stuck in an over-insulated 2 bed semi with a pocket handkerchief of a garden and no trees.
Having dealt with one or two of these heat waves since becoming a mama I thought I’d share a few of the things that have helped us to keep (vaguely) sane. And if you have any tips of your own I’m sure we’d all appreciate hearing about them!
1 – Create a little shade – Not all of us are lucky enough to have a handy tree in our garden and, whilst a South-facing plot sounds like a blessing in reality it can mean an open-air sauna of your very own. More than once I’ve chucked a dark-coloured throw over the rotary airer to make a sun umbrella. Since acquiring our very own sauna, I mean south-facer, we decided to invest in a UV awning for the back garden. With a few corner posts and some ropes and pulleys we can get the awning up in less than 5 minutes and it’s such a boon knowing the small fry can play outside in the nude without worrying about suncream or sunstroke.
2 – Water play – When you have a hot and grouchy small person it can feel like a real hardship keeping them entertained. If you have access to the outside then this is easy, but even if you’re inside there are ways and means – just stick a few old towels down, fill up a washing bowl with cold water and add some bath toys. Even plastic cups and a small jug can keep them happy for hours. Be prepared for a wet floor, of course, but at least in this heat it’ll dry up quickly enough! Really can’t be bothered with it? How about a nice tepid bath? A nice, all-afternoon bath that is. Or, if you have a garden, just turn a sprinkler on and run around in it with them!
3 – Home-made air conditioning unit – When a fan just isn’t enough to cool you down try sticking a bowl of ice cubes in front of the fan to chill the air that’s being blown around. Some people hang wet sheets in front of the windows too though I’ve never tried it.
4 – Strip ‘em down! Kids love being naked, why force them to suffer clothes. As long as you can keep the sun off them why not just let them roam free. Nappy optional, depending on how you feel about cleaning up the odd ‘spillage’ or poo…
5 – Ice ice baby – make some kiddy-friendly ice lollies. Either watered down apple juice or, if you really don’t want them having juice, blend strawberries and banana with yoghurt and freeze them in lolly moulds. Yum.
6 – Go shopping – If you’re really really desperate take them to a supermarket and wheel them round and round. Buy something in a cafe or whatever it takes to stick around in that blissful blissful air conditioning. And try not to be too jealous of anyone who gets to work in a nice cool office!