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When babies, toddlers and children refuse to wear a hat

It is such a common problem.  Parents are always telling me that their baby/child simply refuses to wear a hat.

In my opinion, wearing a sunhat in South Africa in the summer sun, is just not negotiable- like seat-belts and car-seats.  Reducing the risk of skin cancer is one of the modern parents (many!) important responsibilities.

Here are some practical strategies for getting hats on heads.

Distraction is often best for babies- just pop the hat on while pointing out something interesting and they may well not notice the hat (especially one of the MooMoo baby sunhats, which are beautifully soft and comfortable!).

But as soon as babies are mobile, or for toddlers and children, calm, consistent enforcement of the “no hat, no outside play” rule is called for and this is not as hard as some parents anticipate.

The key thing is not to make the mistake of starting the sunhat on/off game, where as soon as you pop the sunhat back on your toddler takes it off.  This is a highly unproductive exercise- admittedly, quite fun for the little one, but completely frustrating for the parent!

So, instead, if your toddler takes the hat off, don’t put it back on- just pick them up and bring them inside, saying- “No hat, no outside play”.  You can intentionally set up a fun activity outside (eg a basin of water with toys, a new toy in the sand-pit, etc),  so they will be highly motivated to get back out there.  Tell them they need to wear the hat to play outside, pop it back on and let them go out again….  a few repetitions of this exercise and your little one will know the rule and be playing happily with a hat on!

Of course, you must also wear one- leading by example is also very important, as well as ensuring all other caregivers know the new rule.

With older children, gently explaining the dangers of the sun- especially if they have grandparents who have had to have cancerous lesions cut out- is a highly effective strategy for getting hats to be worn.  Most schools also make wearing hats at break and for sport compulsory nowadays.

To make it easy for everyone, have a basket with hats for the whole family kept at the door to the garden- and then another full set of hats in your excursion/nappy bag, or just in the car.

Click on this link to shop our great sunhat collection- you can never have too many hats!