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“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 getting them to do something they don’t want to do can be downright impossible.
Top of the “I-Don’t-Want-To-Do-It” List: wear a hat (for longer than 10 seconds).
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 of 30 or higher for sun protection. (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).
- For extra protection, help them wear sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection.
- Ensure they stay out of direct sunlight whenever possible to protect their delicate skin.
- Get them to 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 ideal hat has a wide brim covering their sensitive ears, face, head, and neck.
In this guide, you’ll understand why your toddlers hate their hats and how to make it work for them.
Reason why Toddlers Hate Their Hats
Toddlers hate wearing hats for various reasons, which could vary from child to child. The best thing is to pay attention to your child’s cues and find out what exactly they hate about hats.
Here are three possible reasons your toddler doesn’t want their hats on.
1. Body Temperature Regulation
Your little one is still very sensitive to temperature changes. When they sense even the tiniest degree change in temperature, they want to get it back to normal quickly.
In this case, wearing a hat can trap heat and increase body temperature. This can make them feel sweaty, uncomfortable, and irritable. To fix this, they become naturally inclined to remove the cap.
Some cooling hats can also reduce their temperature more than normal. This causes a similar response.
2. Feeling Confined
Toddlers always want to move around and assert their independence. But sadly, a tight-fitting hat or a chin strap can make moving their head and exploring their surroundings difficult. Thus, they feel the urge to take it off.
Hats with an adjustable chin strap can be a solution to this problem.
3. New Sensory Add
Your kid’s sensory abilities are still maturing. Despite this, they are constantly exposed to new sensations in their surroundings. So, processing all these sensations at once can be overwhelming for them.
So, for instance, the feeling of the texture, fabric, and pressure of a hat on their head can be too much to handle. And their response? They cry or try to remove the hat.
This baby caps hate is even more pronounced in toddlers with touch sensitivity. That’s because the feelings hats give may be more intense and intrusive to them.
5 Ways to Make Hats Work for the Toddler
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:
1. Start ‘em Young
Start ‘em young: The younger, the better! Of course, your fiddly toddler 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 at 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.
2. Let Them 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 built up your stash, let your toddler choose between a few 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.
3. 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:
- Mesh: Hats with mesh panels, pockets, or pleats encourage airflow and keep your child’s head cooler.
- Elastic: Elastic panels 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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 with floppy brims in the back to cover the neck and ears but with foam or stiff brim in the front to keep the hat out of their eyes.
- Weight: Look for something lightweight and unnoticeable.
- Chin straps: For really young kids, look for hats that have chin closure. When your toddler starts to pull the hat off, he will feel the pull on his chin and think twice.
Let the checklist below guide your next toddler hat shopping:
Now that you have the right hat let’s get them to wear it.
1. Be Strategic
Start by being honest with your child. Let them know that the sun can damage their skin and that a hat will help protect them. Praise them for wearing it and offer a lot of compliments about how “cool” and “swanky” they look.
Simply put, hats are essential to keep your child safe, so don’t take no for an answer. Many parents 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 the hat as he looks the other way).
2. Let them Model you
No one intentionally teaches their kids to blurt out swear words. But when they see you say those words, they naturally adopt them as well. This same influence can shape their attitude towards hat-wearing.
So, be a role model by wearing your hat whenever you’re outdoors, i.e., your sun hat at the beach or stylish cap during outings. Also, talk out loud about how much you love the hat and how it helps keep you safe. For instance, a simple “I love my hat; it keeps me cool in the sun” can go a long way in piquing their interest.
You can also consider wearing matching hats with your child. We can help you design a hat with a cute pattern for your toddler’s favorite character, for example. When you wear it together with them, you can get them excited to have the hats on:
Further, before heading outdoors, make putting on hats a fun time and interactive ritual. For instance, you can let your toddler help you put on your hat. Then, help them with theirs as well. This is a fun way to get them to love those caps:
The role doesn’t end with you; close family members should also be involved. Ask their older siblings and grandparents to wear hats when around your child. Gradually, the toddler starts adopting this habit as well:
The key here is to be patient, persistent, and consistent. Every child is unique, and some may take longer to warm up to hat-wearing than others. So, stay patient, gently encourage and make them comfortable at their pace.
Your toddlers might hate hats for several reasons. But most commonly, they do so when it’s tampering with their temperature regulation or movement. They also tend to remove hats when the sensation gets overwhelming for them.
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. As mentioned earlier, the key is patience, persistence, and consistency.
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 with low minimums, easy ordering, and fast turnaround.