Tuesday, June 5, 2018

5 Summer Must-Haves for the Multiracial Family

Summer is in full swing here, and if you're like me, you know it's going to be three months of both fun and sibling bickering and boredom and chaos.  That's summer for ya.   

If you're part of a multiracial family like I am, you need to know about these fabulous products to help make your summer a little more sweet and sane.

Sun Protection

Yes, people with more melanin in their skin can get sunburns and can get skin cancer and can also face issues from sun damage including discoloration.  Yet vitamin D deficiency can have major health consequences; this stems from too much indoor time and too much sun protection.  So what is a parent to do? 

We wear sunscreen during peak sun hours, but generally speaking, we aren't out swimming during those hours.  Our swim time is usually in the later afternoon after the baby's nap.  

Which sunscreen is best for kids of color?  

You don't want unhealthy ingredients, nor do you want it to bleach your child's skin.  We use this sunscreen because it comes in a spray bottle (easy to target areas), it's reasonably priced, and it's considered safe and healthy (non-toxic).  It also has a barely-there scent.  

And don't forget to protect hair from the sun and pool chemicals, too.  I recommend putting a sleep cap over your child's hair, followed by this "long hair" swim cap that's perfect for braids, dreads, etc.

Art Supplies

We love to have lots of art supplies on hand for those hot, sunny days or hot, rainy days when going outside is unbearable or not possible.  But you want your art supplies to reflect your kids!   I recommend this skin-tone paper (for portraits), these markers, and these crayons.  There's even paint options!   

Of course, you'll also want scissors, stickers, coloring books, stencils, etc. on hand-as well:  these are great items to get at your local dollar store.  I also love to cover the table with paper so everyone can work together to create a mural.  We also go on nature walks, gather up natural materials (flowers, rocks, pinecones, etc.) and these as stamps into paint.  The kids LOVE this activity! 

I'm a big fan of sensory play, but on scorching hot or rainy days, you might be stuck indoors.  This is a great opportunity to create and play in a rice bin.  (My kids, ages 1-9, all love rice bins!)

Personal Product Bags

If you're like us, you're taking your kids to various activities and camps throughout the summer.  If your kiddo is spending the day elsewhere, consider making them a personal product bag to carry with them.  This may include lip balm, mini-deodorant (we buy Native, Schmidt's, or Jason's), mints, first aid gel and moisturizer, etc.  Teach your child to check their skin and lips and address as-needed. Of course, throwing in a few Tru Colour bandages that match his or her skin tone isn't a bad idea, either! 

Popsicle Molds

Children of color have a 50% chance of developing type 2 diabetes in their lifetime, so encouraging active play and healthy eating is crucial since type 2 diabetes is primarily a lifestyle-based disease.

Buying healthy popsicles (not the artificial-dye and sugar-filled ones) is really expensive, so we DIY by using these popsicle molds. (Since we have a big family, we own three mold sets!)  We buy a variety of fruits and let the kids create their own flavor combinations.  For the liquid, we usually just use plain water or Trader Joe's low sugar lemonade (sweetened with Stevia) mixed with water.  

Great popsicle recipes for kids and adults (including boozy popsicles) can be found here and here.  

Educational Fun

We do some homeschooling in the summer.  For example, this summer my five-year-old son will continue to learn how to read while my nine-year-old is focusing on honing her math skills.  

I love choosing educational fun where my kids are represented.  A few suggestions include the ABC Me (Black History) Flashcards, Eeboo's I'll Never Forget a Face matching game, books like Little Leaders:  Bold Women in Black History and What Color Is My World?.

If you're feeling creative, generate some lessons/activities with your kids.  For example, teach them about the man who invented the super soaker, and then hand out water guns for some outdoor fun.

Don't forget to take education outside of your home:  concerts, museum exhibits, festivals, library story hours, etc. 

What are your summer plans?  What products does your family love?

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