- Double Layer Window Coverings – Curtains and mini-blinds can add up and be expensive, but they are your first line of defense in keeping your house cool. As a natural light lover it takes a lot of restraint to keep the curtains closed and using the lights during the day but blocking the light out will help you exponentially! On several of our windows we have the cheap plastic mini-blinds as the direct sun layer and then during the summer add a second curtain as a better barrier. If room darkening curtains are too expensive a good old cheap tablecloth will do the trick too. It may not be as fancy, but its thrifty and effective. Keeping the sun out will help the cause greatly!
- Creative Cooking – Obviously the worst thing you can do is turn the oven on! This is often times very difficult when raising children and planning meals during the summer but there are alternative options. Save the oven meals for the days where its raining or on the cooler side. During the hot days use the grill or fire pit. There are so many options of meals you can make this way. Papa Murphy’s has an option for grilling your pizza keeping your oven off and giving your pizza a smoky flavor! One of our families favorites is “hobo dinners” basically, all your ingredients conveniently wrapped in tin-foil and cooked on the grill! Meat, potatoes, vegetables and grill! Another great one is utilizing your crock-pot! There are cook books with hundreds of recipes to yummy dinners all cooked in the crock-pot.
- Ceiling Fans – If you have the option of installing ceiling fans in a room, do it! Be sure to change the direction of the fan to forward or counter-clockwise. This will create a breeze. You can purchase fans at reasonable prices by shopping around and buying on sale. If you have the chance to add them throughout the house this will keep the family more comfortable. Of course this can be costly to buy a bunch of fans, to keep costs low try adding a new fan, one room per year/month or paycheck, depending on your budget.
- Fans = Box or Round – Adding fans throughout the house and bedrooms to keep the air moving and a nice cooling breeze effect will assist in keep the house cool and of course your family comfortable. One thing to keep in mind, you get what you pay for. A couple years ago our local hardware store had large box fans on sale for $6 a fan. My husband went out and bought about ten of them. We were so excited for the great deal. Within the hour of setting them up two were broke! The first was broke when the dog ran past knocking it over and the fan blade shattered into a million pieces. It was a very frustrating moment for my thrifty husband. Not more than 15 minutes later our 3 year old knocked one down and the blade chipped, oh no big deal, so we thought. When we put it upright and turned it back on the thing wobbled so bad it rocked itself to the end of the cord, fell over and the blade suffered the same death as the previous one shattering into pieces. Look at the sturdiness of the fan, the safety feature if young kids around, the speed features, and the length of cord.
- Bare Minimum Policy – Begin a bare minimum policy, literally! Depending the temperature my kids spent most of their time in the least amount of clothes possible (in the house or fenced yard) If we were at home or in our yard it was diaper or onsies only as applicable! Your babies are incapable of regulating their own temperature and toddlers are so active they really struggle at regulating their temperature. To protect your baby and young one let them go in diapers or onesies to keep cool. It’s hot, and their comfort is priority, those fancy three and four piece outfits or impracticable and miserable. If your kids are older, let them rock the tank tops and shorts or swimsuits. Whatever makes them feel comfortable. Our daughter spends most of her summers in tank tops, shorts or skorts.
- Spray Bottles – Go to the store and buy a few empty spray bottles and fill them with ice water and spray away! Leave them around the house for easy access. The two main places your body expels temperature is your head and feet. Keep them cool by spraying your hair to keep it cool, take your socks off and spray your feet. When I was pregnant with my first, my daughter, it was so hot and miserable the only way I could keep cool was fill a large cooler with ice and water and keep my feet in it as often as possible…it really helped!
- Eat Smart – While produce is expensive it is the healthiest and full of water! Keep fresh cut fruit around and let the family snack away the heat! Keep cold cubed watermelon, grapes, sliced cucumbers, oranges, apple slices, cut cantaloupe and honeydew melon, kiwi slices, fresh sliced pineapple and every other fruit and veggie you can buy! It will keep your family hydrated and is a much more healthy option than the chips and pop.
- Water – During the summer you can never get enough water! You must stay hydrated to avoid heat exhaustion or worse yet, heat stroke. Most people are not big fans of plain tap water. Rather than adding a bunch of artificial sweetener and sugar packets add ice! You can add ice cubes using fun shapes and sizes, or semi-freeze water bottles, or keep a container of ice cold water in the fridge with an easy flip tap on it for easy filling. The colder your water is the better it tastes! Remember, be a role model! If you are drinking pop all summer and trying to convince your kids to drink water, they’re not going to buy into it.
- Open your windows at night – If it is a SAFE option, open your windows at night to get that cool breeze and fresh air. ONLY do this if it is a safe option.
This is a great list of very helpful options to help stay cool during the summer! If you have a small infant most of these will help so much but in the case of an extreme hot day try to spend the day at a friend or family members house that has air conditioning as it can be very rough on the baby and sometimes dangerous. Keep an accurate thermometer on hand to monitor your babies temperature throughout the day. If your baby seems hot strip them down to the bare minimum. I also would keep a damp washcloth around to help baby stay cool, when they get warm just rub them down with the wet rag to cool them off being sure to dampen the hair and feet. If you fear your baby is getting to warm please contact your doctor immediately for further care!
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