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7 Terrible Ways to Put Sunscreen on Your Kids

beach sunscreen kids

Ah, sweet summer with its sticky beach days and ice cream. But before you exalt in packing away the kids' snow pants for the year, remember what else summer means?

Specifically, the daily battle of attempting to coat your children with sunscreen.

I've found the following techniques to be intermittently effective in helping your child stay protected this summer.

RELATED: 20 Signs You're Out of the Parenting Trenches

1. Make up a song

For several days last summer, this song, sung in a low bluesy voice allowed me to apply sunscreen to my suspicious son: "We're gonna put your sunscreen on/So you don't get a sunburn/and then it would be ouchy/and you might get melanoma/and then you'd be sorry/you didn't put your sunscreen on/down by the river/put your damn sunscreen on."

2. Empowerment

Smear as fast as you can before she runs away shrieking.

Give your child a sense of control by allowing her to first apply sunscreen to your face. After 35 minutes of trying to sit still while she finger paints your eyebrows, you squeeze a dab of sunscreen onto your finger and sneak your fingers toward her little arm. Smear as fast as you can before she runs away shrieking. Forget that you have unsavory, creamy smears on your face until later, when that cute dad at the beach raises his eyebrows.

3. The Hold Down

You pin your son's arms down and rub the sunscreen on as fast as you can. He screams as if someone was giving him 27 flu shots. In the eye. You wonder why no one told you having children meant you'd spend hours trying to protect your child's skin from burns and cancer and premature aging. You think, "I could be Netflix binging/working/drinking right now instead of walking through this fresh summer hell."

4. The Polka Dot

"Hey Sweetie! I'm going to make polka dots on you, OK?" you sing. Miraculously, your girl's eyes light up. You hesitantly reach your fingers to her face, dabbing a series of dots across her face and arms. She stands there still as a lamp post with a goofy grin on her face. "I am a freaking sunscreen ninja," you think. And you are. Until tomorrow, when she runs away screaming.

5. The Fuck It

Plop an enormous hat, a long-sleeved clothes and a surgical mask on your child, despite it being 90 degrees out. They look like Michael Jackson trying to be incognito, but you no longer care.

6. The Surprise Attack

While your son is peacefully arranging his toy cars into surprisingly complex lines, dab sunscreen across both of your palms and all fingers. Crouch down, preparing to attack. Pop up behind him, possibly saying, "boogly boogly boo!" and apply sunscreen rapidly. Rub as much in as possible while he's frozen in fear.

RELATED: I Don't Always Slather Sunscreen on My Daughter

7. The Good Enough

Leave gobs of half-rubbed-in sunscreen on their faces. This is not a job half-done—those are battle scars, mama. Walk proud. Other parents will see this and recognize what you've been through, smudged across your kids' face, and they will nod in solidarity.

Don't worry, moms and dads—only three more months until Fall.

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