School is out, which means it’s time to get ready for sun-filled days outdoors with the family. But before turning everyone loose, you’ve got to make sure your kids and home are prepped for a safe and fun season. This includes making sure everyone is geared up with the proper clothing and equipment and that the indoors and outdoors are free from hazards. Once you take care of everything on your to-do list, get ready to take advantage of the not-so-endless days of summer before they disappear.
What to Buy
Take a look in your children’s closets, medicine cabinet, and garage to check the status of clothing, sun and bug protection, and outdoor toys. Make an effort to purchase anything that needs to be replaced from a local business. Not only will more of your money be kept within the local economy by investing in entrepreneurship, but you’ll be contributing to job growth while helping the environment and nurturing your community.
- Sun and Bug Protection
Sun safety is key, so make sure your sun products aren’t expired. Regularly apply an SPF of 30 or higher every couple hours — sooner if your kids go into the water. Try to avoid the sun between the hours of 10am and 4pm when the rays are the strongest. Bugs can be a nuisance during the warm-weather months, so make sure you stock up on the proper repellent. Those containing DEET are safe for children two months and up, but there’s also the option to choose a formula made with picaridin, an odorless, synthetic ingredient with long-lasting protection.
- Summer Gear
Children between 6 and 12 years old gain an average of five to seven pounds a year and grow an average of 2.5 inches. With that in mind, check to make sure all your kids’ warm-weather essentials still fit from last year. When getting replacements, consider lightweight, loose-fitting clothing made from cotton to help keep them cool. A hat, sunglasses, and a swimsuit coverup are also good ideas.
Encourage your kids to unplug from their devices and have some good old-fashioned outdoor summer fun. There are endless enhancements on offer, including a swing set, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, sprinklers, drone, child’s archery and gardening sets, kite, bicycle, roller skates, bike, yard games, miniature golf, squirt guns, and a trampoline. Just inspect everything to ensure it’s safe and age appropriate. Also, consider outdoor family activities such as backyard camping, treasure hunts, and a few rounds of Frisbee golf.
What to Do
There is some necessary busywork you should do to ensure your home is safe and set for the summer. For example, make sure your air conditioner is in working order, check your windows for drafts to retain temperature control, set fans to the counterclockwise setting to conserve energy, power wash the side of your home to prevent mold and mildew, lower your energy bill by turning down the water heater temperature, check your patio for any safety hazards and repair as necessary, and keep shades and blinds down to keep the house cooler.
If you have a pool, implement some additional safety features such as a safety cover and fence and a motion-detected pool alarm. Since it’s likely that you haven’t used your grill in several months, check to make sure it’s still in working order. Conduct a safety test by looking for signs of rust, cleaning out any bugs and pests, and checking the fuel line if you have a gas grill. If no cracks are present, brush soapy water along the line and connections. If any bubbles are present while the gas is running, tighten your connections or replace the line.
Now that your home and kids are all geared up, plan some quality family time. Toss the Frisbee around or make a bird feeder so you can observe the wildlife in your area. Of course, nothing beats just spending time with the family if you want to make long-lasting memories.
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