5 Ways to Talk to Kids About Sun Protection

Getting the entire family ready for an outing is already a feat on its own. And although it's important, sun safety talk might not be at the top of your to-do list.

Here are 5 simple ways to explain sun protection to children of various ages:

1. Use Kid-Friendly Analogies

We can't see sunscreen once it's applied. This may be difficult for littles without abstract reasoning. Try comparing sunscreen to a shield. Or, make it an analogy to using toothpaste or washing our hands— both are actions that protect our bodies, even though we can’t see cavities forming or germs propagating.

2. Give Them a Challenge

Can they identify the SPF number on the sunscreen bottle?

You might explain to older children that SPF (sun protection factor) measures how much sun exposure it takes until they experience a sunburn.

Can they make a prediction on how long until they need to reapply during this outing?

Sun exposure differs in each situation. Depending on cloud coverage, the amount of shade available, and what time of day it is, the time between re-applications will vary. Involve them in being a conscious partaker of the sunshine.

3. Keep it in Context

Instead of diving into the long-term impacts of sun damage, talk about what your next trip entails. Going on a hike? Discuss the available tree coverage, and that you'll be there during lunchtime. Paint a clear picture of how the sun will interact with your day.

4. Keep it Light

Don't be an alarmist about the dangers of sunburns, skin cancer, and premature aging. Aside from sunburns, younger kids may not be able to understand how those concerns will impact them.

In contrast, pre-teens and teenagers will start to understand the concept of aging and diseases. Consider a mindful discourse on the connection between the sun, skin cancers, and aging.

5. Make it Actionable

Teach the steps it takes to enjoy a sunny day in the great outdoors. Have them take ownership of a sun protection action that outing. Here are a few examples of what to delegate:

  • Surveying the environment. The first line of defense from sun damage and burns is being mindful of exposure. It helps to use shade, and avoid peak daytime hours.
  • Dressing up. UV Skinz UPF 50+ protective clothing helps to block UV rays.
  • Applying an initial coat of sunscreen. Carefully applying a high-SPF sunscreen at the beginning of the day creates a strong base.
  • Re-applying sunscreen. Depending on the level of exposure, a good rule of thumb is to apply sunscreen every couple of hours, or at the first sign of skin reddening.
Talk to your children about how to responsibly enjoy the sun this season. Use concepts they understand, and that they feel empowered to act upon. Check out UV Skinz to browse sun-safe UPF clothing, hats, accessories, and more.