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Kirsty McCabe's advice on: "How can I keep my children cool in the heat?"

Our weekly columnist, and weather presenter, advises ways to keep the kids cool in the face of an unexpected summer heatwave

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Kirsty McCabe son

Ah, the long hot hazy days of summer. Sitting outside on a balmy evening sipping a glass of wine. Well, that's how it used to be before my little people arrived. Now, it's trying to keep two grumpy wee boys cool and ideally fast asleep; even on a horribly humid night.

As a meteorologist who lives on an urban heat island (you should now be getting Geography lesson flashbacks) we do struggle with the heat in summer. So, here are some of my top tips for staying cool when the heat is on...

Keep their bedroom cool

Easier said than done as often children end up with the smallest room on the house which is roasty toasty all summer (yet freezing in winter). We keep the curtains loosely closed during the day so not too much sunlight gets in but with the window open to get a breeze. We also have a little fan to blow the air around but it's worth pointing out not to blow the air directly at your child and of course make sure it's safe. No loose wires or cables for them to fiddle with. If your toddler can get out of bed then you need to keep the fan out of their reach.

What to wear

As little as possible! Our boys are just in nappies overnight although Logan also wears a 0.5 tog summer baby sleeping bag. Ethan just has his duvet cover without the duvet inside, though he usually kicks it off and then moans later on that he's cold. If things do cool down in the night then we add on a light blanket.

Bath time

Run a slightly cooler than normal bath before bedtime. This helps cool them down and cleans off all the suntan lotion and sand/dirt from earlier.

Ice, ice baby

If you're keen to avoid ice lollies but don't want to make your own, chuck some frozen yoghurt tubes in the freezer. Our two love Frubes and it helps to ease sore teething gums. Kids also go crazy over ice cubes – just chuck lots in a bowl and let them go crazy. Talking of ice, my friend Anna has a great tip for dinosaur hunters. Pop a plastic dino into a balloon (this can be a bit tricky) then fill it up with water. Tie it and pop in the freezer. The balloon should come off quite easily to leave a frozen dino egg with a dinosaur inside thus keep your little ones both cool and busy trying to get that dino out.

Water water everywhere

Dig out the paddling pool, sprinkler or even just a large tub or bucket and get the water fun going. Don't leave them unattended (obviously) and get ready to get wet too. We had so much fun playing with a friend's water table that I'm going to have to get one for Logan. Hopefully it'll arrive before the hot weather disappears.

Make sure everyone stays hydrated - so drink lots of water as well as play with it.

If you're still breastfeeding that can mean extra nursing sessions. I still remember the first time we took Ethan to South Africa when he was just a few months old. It felt like all we did was feed!

Hats and sunblock

And finally, keep your little ones in the shade as much as possible and get everyone to wear hats. They are usually more willing to if you have one on too. If your kid refuses to wear their hat and keeps taking it off, simply put it back on. And on. And on. Eventually they will give ins. Oh, and don't forget the sunblock!

With any luck you've got one of those kids that actually sleep more not less in the heat. If that's the case – please tell me your secrets.

Have you got any tips for keeping kids cool during a long hot summer? Let us know by joining in our forum discussion...

Kirsty McCabe writes her weekly column here on www.juniormagazine.co.uk. Follow us on Twitter: @juniormagazine and watch out for the hashtag #somethingfortheweekend every Friday to join in with the conversation

Read Kirsty's columns: 

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