Getting your kid to wear sunscreen can be a battle. While you’re doing your best to apply it, they’re squirming and squishing their little faces trying to get away from the “gunk.” Oh, the drama!

So, mommas – and poppas – of the world, we hear you! We know it might not be easy, but it’s so important to keep your kid’s skin protected while outside. Whether it’s the pool, the park, the beach or the backyard, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends applying before heading out in the sun, and at least every two hours when exposed.

Don’t throw in the towel! Try these tips:

  • Apply 20-30 minutes before going out. Besides saving you and your kid from the judge-y eyes of non-parents everywhere while you endure the “yucks!” and writhing. The sunscreen will also start working before you even hit the beach.
  • Start them young, get them used to it. Your kids need to know that sun care is an essential part of taking care of themselves; it’s right up there with empowering ‘healthy and strong’ messages we send. Hopefully, this will help them to make the choice on their own to use it.
  • Stash it everywhere! If it’s everywhere! there must be a reason. No excuses.
  • When all else fails, bribe them. Okay, “reward” them. Fun beach-themed stickers, an extra 20 minutes in the pool, that boogie board they’ve been eyeing may be a small price to pay to motivate them to do something they see as an annoyance.

By making it part of their everyday routine, soon your kids will realize that sunscreen is a non-negotiable, like brushing their teeth or taking out the garbage.