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How to Beat the Heat: 5 Ideas For Parents and Kids

07/19/2013 12:16 EDT | Updated 09/18/2013 05:12 EDT

Ah, those dog days of summer. We wished for heat and we got it -- and then some.

When our desire for warmth is a distant memory and we're battling sky-high temperatures and humidity indexes, it's time to take action and gain control over the situation. The soaring mercury often brings out the worst in us, and children are particularly susceptible to the heat. Depending on how high temperatures climb, kids can become extremely irritable and can experience heat stoke, if we're not careful. To this end, here are five simple ways to beat the heat with the kids this summer:

How to Beat the Heat and Stay Cool With the Kids

1) Stay Hydrated -- Perhaps one of the most important things to remember during a heatwave is to drink water -- lots of it. Our bodies need fluids to function properly and this is even more so the case for children. Make sure that the kids have access to water at all times during a heat wave, whether it be via a drinking fountain, water bottle or juice boxes. Fruit juices or sports drinks with electrolytes are also a good idea as they replace the body's needed salt that is lost through excessive sweating.

2) Stay Wet -- Water play is a great way of keeping the kids cool by making sure that their body temperature remain within safe levels. Playing in water is something that most kids love, so get out the sprinkler and let the kids go to town! Other suggestions include letting your child linger in an outdoor baby/child's miniature swimming pool (always supervised, of course), letting the kids play in a prolonged, cool bath, or setting up a water station in your backyard, filled with water toys for the kids to play with.

3) Stay Inside -- Limit outside time as much as you can and seek shelter indoors. If you don't have air conditioning, go somewhere that does have it and stay there as long as you can. Places you can go include libraries, malls, friends or families' homes or community centres. Hot weather is a great time to investigate your city's local destinations as well. Take the kids to the museum, an art gallery or science centre until the outdoors become bearable again. The kids will learn and enjoy while staying out of the sun.

4) Stay Out of the Kitchen -- Hot weather is no time to be slaving over a hot stove or opening an oven door. When the hot weather hits, meal preparation should consist of foods that don't require cooking. Examples of this include sandwiches and wraps, bean or grain salads and veggies with dip. Now's a great time to shop seasonally as well and to take advantage of all of those summer vegetables and fruits that make summer eating so pleasurable. If you're feeling financially healthy, ditch food preparation altogether and hit a restaurant for dinner with the kids. Let someone else do the clean up, too!

5) Stay Still -- Or close to it. Now's not the time to engage in activity that requires kids to exert a lot of energy. Young children in particular heat up more quickly than adults and as a result, are at greater risk of heat-induced exhaustion or stroke than are adults or older children. For this reason alone, encourage your kids to do more low-key activities during the hot weather. These may include playing board games, arts and crafts, or allowing the kids to watch a movie while curled up on the couch. All of these activities are low-energy and, while keeping the kids engaged, allows them to take it easy until the hot weather subsides.

This post also appears at www.multiplemayhemmamma.com

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