The summer vacations of childhood are often among our most treasured memories. Who doesnâ€™t fondly recall summer days eating ice creams at the sea side and splashing about in rock pools? But those perfect snapshots from some of the greatest days of our lives would have been ruined had they been tarnished by sickness and sunstroke.
As a parent you want your children to be as healthy and happy as possible on holiday and that wonâ€™t happen if you neglect your childâ€™s routine or donâ€™t take care of them when theyâ€™re out in the sun all day.
With that in mind here are some tips for looking after your childâ€™s health during your summer vacation.
1) Eat Right
Junk food is everywhere on holiday, especially if youâ€™re staying in a touristy spot. Many adults see their holiday as an opportunity for indulgence, but it really isnâ€™t wise to allow children to eat masses of junk food and fizzy drinks.Â When children (and adults) eat too much sugar their blood sugar levels soar and then in a few hours they come crashing down again, causing them to become tired and irritable. So if you want to keep the fun times rolling with your children set them a good example and take some healthy fruit with you on your day out and make sure they eat healthily at regular intervals.
2) Promote Frequent Hand Washing
Keeping hands clean is one of the most important things you can do on holiday to avoid becoming unwell. Get your children to regularly wash their hands for at least twenty seconds with soap and warm water and if youâ€™re outdoors all day, take a bottle of hand sanitizing gel to keep their hands clean. If youâ€™re visiting somewhere that has high numbers of tourists or low levels of cleanliness, take tissues to catch any sneezes and try to discourage them from touching their faces and mouths as much as you can.
3) Wear Sunscreen
Just a few bouts of serious sunburn can increase your childâ€™s risk of skin cancer later on in life, so it really is vital that your children are protected from the harmful UV rays, even if itâ€™s cloudy.
Use a sunscreen that has a high UV protection factor (30+) and apply it all over their bodies before they get dressed for the day. Â Avoid being out in the midday sun entirely if you can and also make sure you have adequate shade protection. Also make sure your child has a sun hat and UV protective sunglasses on. Re-apply sun cream to your childâ€™s exposed areas of skin every two hours or so, and donâ€™t forget the ears and tops of feet.
4) Stay Hydrated
Carry a bottle of drinking water with you everywhere you go on holiday and make sure your child regularly takes sips. The air-conditioning on flights will also dehydrate your child, so make sure theyâ€™re also drinking plenty on the plane. The drinking water in popular, family resorts is usually very clean and safe to drink, but if you really donâ€™t want to risk catching something, buy bottled water instead.
5) Take Sleep Seriously
Children will usually be really excitable on holiday, so getting them into bed at a reasonable time may not be easy, but itâ€™s worth it if you want the next day to be as stress-free as possible. Jet lag can make the best of us fatigued and irritable, so try and make their sleep and wake schedules as close to normal as you can. Children between the ages of five and ten need 10-11 hours of sleep a night, so make sure they get it and you can help yourself along with this by adhering to the same routines you have at home- bath, teeth-brushing, followed by bedtime story.
Also take care when booking your accommodation and make sure that you choose family hotels that will have noise restrictions placed on guests during the night, to ensure you wake up with a happy, well-rested child.
Good luck on your family holiday this year, hopefully by following these tips you can avoid too many tears and tantrums. If you have other handy health hints for children on vacation, leave them in comments below.
About the Author
Gavin Harvey is a seasoned traveller and blogger. Heâ€™s lives a healthy, active lifestyle, yet even he still feels the need to go on holiday every now and then to unwind. He writes for Hotelopia.