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Stay 'sun-smart' this summer!
by Beverley Paine
Summer started in most places with a deluge of rain and cloudy cool days making it too easy to become less vigilant about staying sun-smart. Once that sun finally comes out she'll be a scorcher! So be wary and remember to cover up, apply sunscreen to exposed skin before you go outside, wear those sunnies, protect your lips and toes and during the middle part of the day, stay in the shade.
Dehydration isn't something we think about enough, particularly in summer. Iced drinks are a favourite with everyone, especially younger children who love to play with the ice and who are most vulnerable to heat stroke. Red, hot, dry skin, a swollen tongue, dizziness and confusion or nausea are the symptoms of heat stroke - don't ignore them, even in the early stages. Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Wear a hat that shades the face and neck and light-weight and light-coloured clothing that reduces skin exposure to the sun if you have to be outside. If someone you know does look like they are flaking out because of the heat, move them into the shade, ask them to sit or lie down and offer cold compresses or a cool shower to help lower their temperature.
It goes without saying we should all take it easy on hot days. Organise outside exercise and play sessions for your children in the early hours of the morning or evening, when the sting has gone out of the sun's rays. Playing with water in the shade is a great way to cool kids off and keep them happy. You don't need a swimming or paddling pool - a few bowls and buckets, cheap paintbrushes, some containers, funnels and other implements from the kitchen together with some of their toys should keep them occupied for a while.
For the adults, keeping cool takes on a different dimension during the festivities of Christmas and New Year, especially as the weather warms up, late nights begin to take their toll and the excitement of the holiday season leaves our children a tad frazzled. Aim to get at least eight hours of sleep most nights, scheduling in some early nights for the whole family. Don't take on any extra social or work related commitments: say "no" calmly, politely and firmly. It's okay not to go out every day! Stock up so you don't feel the need to rush down to the shops, which will inevitably mean buying extra ice cream and other treats you wouldn't normally purchase. Laughter is a great stress reliever. Hire some funny movies and hang out with people who make you feel happy. Play games with your family that make you all laugh. And even though it is hot and you don't feel like it, make sure you do something physical and active every day.
Having a plan to put all this in place and make sure it happens can easily fit into your home education program. Activities to remind us to stay healthy throughout the hot summer, such as making sun-safe posters (language), playing Junior Master Chef and creating delicious summer recipes (health), investigating the effectiveness of different types of sunscreen (science), swimming or surf life saving lessons (physical education). Make education fun and stay 'sun-safe' this summer!
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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.
Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
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