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Question: My 2-year-old hates having sun tan cream put on him even when I try and make it into a game. Any suggestions?

Doctor Woolfson's Answer:

You are absolutely right to take this seriously as your two-year-old is at risk of sunburn if he doesn’t have sufficient protection. Incidentally, as well as using suntan lotion with a high SPF, try to keep your toddler out of the sun between 11am and 3pm as that is when the sun is hottest. Also, use a water-resistant lotion, especially when you are on the beach.

An uncooperative two-year-old is no fun on holiday! So to encourage your two-year-old to wear sun tan cream, start off by letting him see you put some on yourself – tell him how good it feels and how it keeps you safe. Maybe he can even help rub the cream into your arms. Then explain to him that it’s his turn. Laugh, joke and tickle him as you put cream on him. As you say, better to make it a game than a chore. All the time remind your toddler that you have also put cream on and that it will keep him safe from the hot sun. Keep smiling as the lotion goes on, even if he moans and groans.

In the end, of course, he can’t play in the sun without using protective lotion. That’s non-negotiable. When he eventually realises no suntan lotion means no playing in the sun, he’ll soon change his mind. Hopefully, though, it doesn’t come to that and that the above strategies are effective.