Sunscreen Your Toddler – No Fuss, No Tears with these 3 Tips! (1)

Why do children detest the sunscreen application process so much?  Some of my little ones hate to stand still, others don’t like the sensation of cream on their faces and the smallest ones simply scream and run in the opposite direction when they see me get out the sunscreen bottles.

Through thousands of sunscreen applications I’ve come up with these 3 tips to make the process less painful for everyone involved.

Tip #1 – Create a Distraction

I made up a game that we play on my front entrance mat to keep the toddlers distracted while I put on sunscreen.  I sing the song, “Five Green and Speckled Frogs” and we pretend the mat is the log in the song.  The children all stand on the log (mat) as I begin singing.  When we get to the  “one jumped into the pool” part I point to a child and they get to jump off the mat into the pretend water.  We keep singing until all the kids have had a chance to be frogs jumping into the pool.

The toddlers LOVE this song and they stand still and watch wide eyed as the group sings and jumps.  They also love it when it is their turn to be a frog.  The singing and the actions of the game work well to keep their attention focused on the other kids and not on me as I quickly apply sunscreen to them.

Tip #2 – Stand BEHIND the Child as you Apply Sunscreen

I discovered this tip by accident.  I used to stand in front of them but then they kept moving to the side because I was blocking their view of the Frog Game. When I stand behind them, they don’t notice me as much and I can sunscreen them with less complaints and less movement on their part.

Toddlers are small people and I can easily reach them just as well standing behind them than in front of them.  I look down over top of them when I do their faces to make sure I don’t get sunscreen in their eyes.

Tip #3 – Be Strategic in your Order of Application

I generally do legs first, then arms, then face and finally the neck last.  Most of my kids dislike it when I put sunscreen on their necks.  They become little turtles and collapse into a small ball on the floor.  It’s impossible to effectively rub in sunscreen when your toddler is giggling and scrunched into a tight human ball. I can finish their legs, arms and face without them moving too much and then I give the back and front of their neck my best effort before moving onto the next child.

It’s a bit of a process to get everyone sunscreened, suited up and ready for some water play but at least I’m not putting on snowsuits!!

toddler pool