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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Parenting Tips: Beat the Heat

It is hot this week.  After spending a week in Alabama I don't feel like I can complain about our stretch of almost 90 degree weather. But, for coastal Maine, it is hot. It is all in what you are used to and prepared for.  I was cooler in Alabama most of the time because everyone has air conditioning.... they expect the heat and prepare for it.  In Maine we seldom need or use airconditioners so when the breeze disappears and the humidity rises we are not prepared to relieve it. [For you in the heat zones laughing at me, remember how casually we handle a 10 inch snow storm while 2 inches can close your schools for lack of plows, winter tires, etc.!]

Yesterday I prepared.  I prepared by warning the kids the night before. By opening windows and running fans to take advantage of the cooler night. The kids were all pushed out of bed by 7:30 and chores began immediately [ok, by 8].  The trade-off was that we stopped working at 10 am and the kids were allowed to head back to bed or a book, or even tv/computers for the peak heat of the day.  I worked a bit longer cleaning in my basement which is cooler than the upstairs.

At lunch we talked about how regions with much higher temps routinely manage it.  Their solution [of course!] was that we should buy an air conditioner and an outdoor pool!! Instead we talked about shifting the expectations for a hot day, for choosing to let go of our original goals for a day when the heat hits.

A Dozen new goals or ideas that we came up with:

1. Reclaim the joy of running through sprinklers in the yard in bathing suits.
2. Take a siesta.
3. Do chores early or late.
4. Go crazy and stay up late for the cool hours and sleep through the hot hours.
5. Find the coolest room in the house and have a family camp out or sleepover in that room.
6. Create a cool zone in the house with fans and closed doors!
7. Go to an air-conditioned theater and enjoy a summer movie at the peak of the heat.
8. Make a family salad bar for simple, healthy, no-heat lunches.
9. Cut chunks of watermelon, peaches, pineapples, stick on wooden popsticks or skewers, freeze and use for a midday healthy, cooling fruit pop snack. [If the kids aren't too young, try frozen grapes... they are great!]
10. Gather some books, family videos, read a-louds and quiet family board games and make the peak heat time to share quiet family fun in your cool room.
11. Let your usual standards slide for a few days and go ahead and use disposable plates. 
12. Take your showers or shampoos in mid day to cool off.

Ok, you southern folks, give us northerners a hand.... If you had no air conditioning option... what are your best tips for keeping the family cool??? Share!

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