Stay Cool 

– By Andrea Gaines

Temperature-wise, our area hits its peak in July, with an average maximum daily temperature of almost 90 degrees. August comes in at over 85 degrees and September, just over 80.

Having braved this late summer/early fall weather pattern before, parents and kids – the back-to-school crowd – will be busy, looking for ways to beat the heat while demonstrating an equally cool mental approach to what can be a very frantic time. Retailers, for example, are offering all kinds of deals on kid’s clothes, school supplies and hi-tech gadgets. But, what’s essential, or cool … and what’s just hype?

With both the continued warm weather – and the modern, with-it parent and child duo in mind – we offer these cool back-to-school ideas for kids and parents.

Reorganize and/or stock up on your re-useable water bottles and containers. Children have higher ­­­hydration (i.e. cooling) requirements per pound of body weight than adults. Take a moment this month to inventory your “mobile agua” bottles and beverage containers. Recycle the ones too old to reuse, and buy new ones if needed. Making a fresh supply of water available to kids wherever they are – at school, at home, in the great outdoors, etc. – will keep everyone cool and collected.

Dress Kids for Warm to Cool Temps. Taking the layered approach to your child’s back-to-school wardrobe is a great idea, with light-weight shirts that can be worn over sleeveless tanks, vests that can be worn over T-shirts, and hats and visors that can shield the sun and wind, or be easily removed. Zip-off pants that convert to shorts, or visa-versa, are a cool idea, too.

Go Back To School with Simplicity in Mind. Backpacks are a staple for today’s school child. But, be careful. Doctors and physical therapists advise that kids carry no more than 10 to 15 percent of their body weight in their backpacks. Yet, studies show that the average 2nd – 4th grader carries 5 lbs., the average 6th grader, over 28 lbs., and some kids, up to 30 lbs. Do they need everything that’s crammed into that backpack? Take a look. Can certain things be eliminated altogether or shared? Can you lighten their load?

Know the Latest Trends in Kid Snack Foods – Banana Sushi anyone? Good nutrition never goes out of style – is always, cool. Right now the internet is on fire with a school snack called banana sushi. A banana, coated in chocolate, peanut butter or yogurt, and then rolled in sesame seeds, nuts, cereal, raisins, you name it. The treat can be made the night before and frozen. Slice it up in the morning in sushi-sized portions. Perfect for your child’s lunchbox or snack pack.

Consider a Parent/Child Weather App. Weather information at your fingertips is a great way to follow your child through the school day. If your child is old enough to have their own mobile device, a weather app can be a great way for the two of you to connect, and learn about weather dynamics. There are lots of free and/or inexpensive weather apps out there. Experts suggest getting one that 1) relies on radar, 2) provides not just local but regional forecasts, and 3) provides constantly updated – versus cached – info.

­­­Stay smart, take your time, explore your options­­­. Make your back-to-school time the coolest, ever. ­

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