How to Keep Children Cool with no Air-Conditioning
Summer is a fantastic time of year for children; they get to enjoy outdoor activities, eat alfresco and splash around in water to their heart’s content. However, it is not advised for children to be outside in high temperatures for prolonged periods of time, so indoor play must be resumed. This can be just as enjoyable, unless the indoor environment becomes uncomfortably hot.
Scorching hot weather is no fun for those who are stuck inside a setting with no air-conditioning. Children become agitated and miserable, as do staff members. There might be many reasons why a nursery does not have an air conditioning unit; there may be a lack of funds, a lack of space or some settings may be advised against it. There are, however, some innovative ways to keep cool when air-con is not an option. Here are That Nursery Life’s recommendations:
· Open all the windows, early
Quite an obvious one, for sure, but opening windows can often come to mind once it is already hot. Try to remember to open all windows first thing as you begin the day at your setting. This allows cooler air to circulate round the building before it gets too hot. Ensuring all windows are open through out the building helps air flow through more effectively.
· Turn out the lights
Usually, lights won’t need to be on during sunny, glorious days, but equally it can be hard to spot one if it is on. Be mindful about keeping lights off and keep an eye out for any that may have been left on by accident. The warmth from one light may not seem much, but even the smallest amount of extra warmth will make a difference.
· Invest in fans; lots of fans
A good quality fan can last for years. Having one per room is ideal but, if this is not feasible, just having one or two and rotating them round the rooms works, too. Keep in mind that fans should be kept out of reach of children so, while large fans are more efficient, smaller ones may be best so they can be placed on shelves or windowsills. Ceiling fans can also work well if the setting’s budget allows. Cold items such as jugs of ice or frozen water bottles can be placed in front or behind fans to further cool the air being blown around.
· Water, water, everywhere
Allow children to have constant access to water play (preferably with cold or cool water) whilst inside. Having cold hands and wrists can help to reduce the temperature in the rest of the body (lifehacker.com). One of the best ways to keep cool is to stay hydrated so encourage children, and staff, to drink regularly and be vigilant with any empty bottles. Some settings have ‘water only’ policies, not allowing children to drink juice on the premises. However, it is best to be lenient on this rule in hot weather. Drinking diluted juice or squash is better than not drinking anything at all in high temperatures.
· What are you wearing?
Light, comfortable clothing should be encouraged throughout summer, with extra considerations being made in extreme heat. Children should be allowed to remove items of clothing if parents find it appropriate and the children are comfortable to do so. Older children may be more self-conscious but young children should have no problem strutting around in nappies or baby-grows. Exceptions should be made for staff uniforms too. Often staff are required to wear black trousers and sweat-inducing polyester t-shirts. Allowing staff to wear appropriate length (near the knee) shorts and vests with thick straps (which are not unsuitably revealing) keeps them comfortable in the heat and will be greatly appreciated.
· Ice, ice, baby
Keep the freezer stocked with ice. Encourage children to interact with it regularly in creative or simple ways. Children will enjoy the sensory experience no matter how they are doing it. Ice lollies are also a strong recommendation which children and staff can equally enjoy; they can even make their own using squash and fruit pieces!
· Blinds and Curtains
For large windows, blinds and curtains are an effective way to block out sunlight and keep rooms cool. Reflective or ‘black-out’ ones work best but can be more costly. Be sure that any cords are out of reach of children to avoid any risks of strangulation.
Heat can be incredibly dangerous for young children. Keeping them cool while allowing adults to enjoy the same activities will result in safe, happy, comfortable children and practitioners. Share your tips of how to keep cool using the hashtag #mynurserylife