A good cap is like a loyal friend, shielding your head…
“The most accommodating and obedient age group of all!” said no one ever.
We’re the first to admit that kids bring with them innocence, wonder, and unparalleled excitement for the little things in life. But we’re also the first to agree that it can be downright impossible to get them to do something they don’t want to do.
Top of the “I-Don’t-Want-To-Do-It” List: wear a hat (for longer than 10 seconds).
With social distancing forcing kids to stay home from spring break through the end of the school year in some places, getting at least a little bit of outdoor time each day is more important than ever.
But with the outdoors comes a lot of sun.
According to the Prevent Cancer Foundation, taking good care of your children’s skin can reduce their risk of skin cancer by up to 78%. Some of the things you can do to protect your children’s skin include:
- Use sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher. (Interesting fact: there is very little difference between the protective power of SPF 50 and SPF 100.)
- Apply sunscreen a half-hour before going outdoors and every two hours after each application (unless sweating profusely or swimming and then you should apply more often).
- Wear sunglasses that offer UVA and UVB protection.
- Stay out of direct sunlight whenever possible.
- Wear a hat with a brim that covers their neck, face, ears, and head.
Let’s take a few minutes to address that last bullet point.
The first thing you should know is that just about any hat is better than no hat (except potentially a visor-style hat when you’re balding or have very thin hair – which could actually apply to some young children). That said, the preferred hat is one that has a wide brim that covers their sensitive little ears, face, head, and neck.
Toddlers are pretty finicky about what goes on their bodies, and there are really only two camps where hats are concerned: those toddlers that love them… and those who don’t. The great thing, however, is that if your child is currently in the second camp, with enough dedication on your part, they can earn a spot in the first group. Here are a few suggestions to help you make the transition from one to two:
- Start ‘em young: The younger, the better! Of course, your child needs to be able to hold his head up on his own before you start having him wear a hat, but once he has mastered that skill, plunk that sucker on every chance you get! If your kid isn’t an infant anymore, don’t fret. Anytime you start the habit of wearing a hat is the perfect time.
- Let them help choose: Kids love – nay, crave – the ability to make choices, so let them choose which hat to wear. Start by building up a supply of different hats to give them several options. While choosing a new hat from a favorite store can be a fun treat, you don’t have to break the bank to start your arsenal. Look for children’s hats at thrift, secondhand, and consignment stores for hats on the cheap. Once you have your stash built up, let your toddler choose between a few of them that you have previously selected. You don’t have to offer every hat every time, but giving your kid a choice before each outing can be very empowering and motivating.
- Think of design: Let’s face it: not all hats are created equal. The tricky part about children’s hats is that they are too small for you to try out first, so you just have to rely on your toddler’s (often unintelligible) opinion. To counteract this, give each hat’s design a thorough once-over before buying anything. Here are some things to consider:
a. Mesh: Hats that have mesh panels, pockets, or pleats encourage airflow and will keep your child’s head cooler.
b. Elastic: Elastic can help the hat stay on your child’s head without it slipping around. It can be a better alternative to a snap or Velcro closure because it creates a snug – but not tight – fit.
c. Moisture-wicking: No one likes to have sweat dripping down their neck or face, so moisture-wicking fabrics and sweatbands can be a major plus for your kid.
d. UV protective fabric: Your child probably isn’t going to notice if the fabric offers UV protection, but you’ll know, and that’s important, too, right?
e. Brim: The floppy brim is one of those things that can be a major turn-off to your toddler, but it keeps the sun away from sensitive skin, so what are you supposed to do about it? Look for hats that have floppy brims in the back to help cover the neck and ears but have a foam or stiff brim in the front to keep the hat out of their eyes.
f. Weight: Look for something that is lightweight and unnoticeable.
g. Chinstrap: For really young kids, look for hats that have a chinstrap. When your toddler starts to pull the hat off, he will feel the pull on his chin and think twice.
- Be strategic: And of course, a lot of what makes a successful parent is the appropriate use of strategy. Start by being honest with your child. Let him know that the sun can damage his skin and that a hat will help protect him. Praise him for wearing it and offer a lot of compliments about how “cool” and “swanky” he looks (feel free to vary the adjectives, of course). Be an example by wearing your own hat whenever you’re out in the sun and talk out loud about how it helps keep you safe. The key here is to be persistent and consistent. Simply put, hats are essential to keep your child safe, so don’t take no for an answer. A lot of parents out there swear by the mantra, “No hat, no play.”
When all else fails, try the subtle art of distraction: “What in the world could that be?!” (slips on hat as he looks the other way).
If you have struggled to get your kids to wear hats in the past, most likely there isn’t just one tip here that will do the trick. Like we mentioned earlier, the key is to be persistent and consistent.
And don’t forget that if you want a custom hat for a special occasion (birthday party, family reunion, company party, etc.), Acme Hat Co. offers great designs for kids plus low minimums, easy ordering, and fast turnaround.