Instagram has done no favours to the responsible parent trying to slap sun-cream on to their offspring! Pictures of ‘sun-kissed’ children munching ice cream or napping in hammocks. Have led to quite a lot of kid pressure to be allowed to get a tan themselves. It used to be just girls who feel themselves arm-twisted into getting the golden glow, but increasingly boys too feel that they should be sunbathing.
Parents appear to have some confusion too. A survey by the NHS and the Met Office discovered that nearly two fifths of parents think (wrongly) that suntans indicate good health and one in ten has encouraged a child aged seven or under to sunbathe. Most shocking of all, one in twenty parents has encouraged their child to use sun beds!
Sun tan pressure
NHS England says that the facts are clear. Both sun tans and sunburn are a sign of sun damage and protecting your children reduces their risk of experiencing skin cancer. The UK’s most common cancer. In later life. But for many parents this information is small print compared to the headlines of constant nagging about being allowed to sunbathe. Begging for low SPF sun cream or ‘tan accelerating oil’ and complaining about being told to cover up in the sun.
How to cope with summer child pressure
This summer in particular has been a difficult one for parents – and many schools have only just broken up for the summer holidays! The intense media focus on sun, summer, tans and fun can be confusing to children. Who believe they should be participating in those things, and it’s even tougher if parents are themselves sun-worshippers. So here are some ideas on how to help deal with the tan whine.
A shady corner is valuable, but to make it desirable set it up with some unmissable accessories. An iPod with the latest kid series installed, a couple of battery-powered fans, some cool mats (find them in pet shops!), and a browse bar featuring frozen fruit chunks and some fruit syrups to make delicious cold snacks. That gives your children a great reason to stay out of the sun.
Vision board your heroes
From Boudicca to Taylor Swift, Ros from Senyuu, Loki from The Avengers. There are plenty of role models out there to encourage children to be happy with pale skin. If that’s their natural complexion. Making a vision board that covers the full range of skin tones and shows what’s natural, and admirable, about all of them is.
a – a great educational activity (nanny can help children sensitively explore issues of diversity and tolerance).
b – something it’s easy to do in the shade (in other words, it naturally moves children out of the sun).
c – great bedroom decor and gives your child a sense of accomplishment and achievement.
Be a responsible tanner
There’s just no way that your children will listen to you if you’re slapping on Factor Two tan oil and not wearing a hat. Remember that you and your nanny set the example for the children so if you really must bask in the rays. Do it when the children are out and encourage your nanny to save her sunbathing for her days off.