Six Parenting Essentials For Summer

Summer is soon upon us and this means hours of running and playing and climbing trees and rocks and collecting shells at the beach and swimming and so much more.  In short, it’s a time of fun and lots of activity, especially for our children.  However, with that also means it’s a time of falls and cuts and bruises as our children stretch their limits to the max trying to reach that branch that’s just a little higher or try to jump from that log that’s just a bit too high or slide off the rock that got a little too wet.  As parents, we sometimes forget all these times in the winter when the focus is indoor play or outdoor play with a heck of a lot of clothing and gear to make sure there are no scrapes and cuts and bruises (have you ever seen a kid get a scrape in a snowsuit?).

I can tell you from experience that being woefully unprepared for a child’s fall is one way to make you feel like a bad parent.  When they fall, see blood, and cry, they come to you wanting you to “fix” it, and you get to feel like a grade A failure when you realize that you have zero band-aids in the house and are trying to convince your child that really it’s fine as is.  Or you send your partner or older child running to the store to get some ASAP while you sit waiting and trying to figure out how you ended up so totally unprepared.

So... what do you need for summer?  Here are the absolute essentials to make sure that you survive the summer guilt-free, even if it’s not injury-free!

Band-Aids and lots of them.  Personally I recommend the assorted packs because chances are you’ll need a variety of shapes and sizes, but really any will do.  If you know you’ll be spending a lot of time by the water this summer, I would suggest the wet-flex type simply because replacing bandages each time they fall off in the water can be a massive pain.  The flip side is that they are harder to get off as water doesn’t help you in this regard.  Your choice.

Antibiotic or Antiseptic.  Polysporin is the most common of these because it includes antibiotics which help speed healing, but I remember back in the day just having my mom rub on plain old rubbing alcohol to disinfect cuts and scrapes.

Ice packs.  You probably have these year-round at home, but I’m thinking of the smaller, one-use travel ones to keep in your bag when you’re out.  A fall from a tree, a rock, or off a bike can often be helped without a trip home if you’ve got the ice pack with you.

Sunscreen.  For some reason, even though this should be a staple and a well-known by now, every summer in our house we end up with sunburn.  I don’t know if it’s that the sun creeps up on us and so we’re caught unprepared or that the sun comes before it’s too hot and we forget that we still need sunscreen even if it’s not 30 degrees out.  Either way, make sure you have sunscreen for kids and adults and are using it.

Aloe Vera.  Let’s face it, even if you have sunscreen, how often do you actually cover every spot?  No, chances are you’ll end up with that weird shaped burn where your fingers just didn’t quite get to, or the one behind the ears because you totally forgot about that spot.  With kids, you really want something to put on quickly to help ease the pain and help them get better.  Aloe vera will be your best friend in these situations.

Insect Repellent.  The one downfall of summer is the onslaught of the mosquitoes and other bugs that have decided you are dinner.  Although you’ll definitely need this if you’re a camping family, even those of us out in the city will end up needing it more than we’d like to think.  Some insect repellents can be harsh for kids because of the DEET, but there are gentler versions for younger ones.  Of course, you’ll also want to pick up some after-bug bite for the times those dreaded pests get by your defenses.


There you have it – six things that will help your summer run smoother even if you can’t stop the bumps and bruises from happening!  [Note: If you’re going away, you can get a mini package of most first aid items in a Bon Voyage first aid kit, making the packing of essentials done in just one step.]

By Tracy Cassels

May 26, 2014