The Tale of The Boy, The Sun-cream and Me

The sunshine is here and that can mean one thing, the dreaded application of sun-cream to the child!

Now, I’d like to say that it’s a bit like the scene from Mary Poppins and the ‘spoonful of sugar’ and we all sing and dance whilst happily applying the cream.
Well, *snaps* back to reality, what actually ensues is a disaster of mum losing her temper and huffing whilst the boy is in floods of tears screaming that he hates the ‘feel’ of sun-cream on him!
I’d like to add that I have added to the pressure by giving us a mere 15 minutes to get shoes on, bag and sun-cream on and get to school. Well played mum!

Before NLP4Kids, there were many tears and tantrums (mainly from me) to ensure that I got the sun-cream on before school on the sunny days, running to the car and dropping of a tearful and upset son. This, in turn, would leave me in a hot mess thinking: “I must get better at this”.

Now, here comes the big revelation…I know why I need to put the cream on him on hot summer days – to protect him from too much sun so he doesn’t burn; but does my son know why we need to do this ritual? Mmmmmmm…. I’m going to go with a no. I’d like to say that this came to me in a dream but the reality is, I have learnt this on my NLP4Kids training.

Ok, so day 17 of applying sun-cream – this is the day it all changes. At this point my son has mentioned approximately 97 million and a half times (perhaps a slight exaggeration) that he ‘does not like the way the sun-cream feels’ on him.

This is where NLP4Kids trained mum brain kicks in….
NLP4Kids mum: ‘hey son, do you know why mummy needs to put sun-cream on you? Especially on super hot days like today?’
Son: ‘Yes mummy, it’s so I don’t go red, but I don’t like how it feels on my skin’.
NLP4Kids mum: ‘That’s right’. I feel impressed that he knows the why (a wave of calmness now returns and I feel we have both reached some level of mutual understanding)
NLP4Kids mum: ‘Ok, so this is the only sun-cream that we have today, however at the weekend we could go and look at what else there is to use? I know it may feel a bit funny when you first put it on, perhaps if we put it on a little bit before we go to school it may have soaked in a bit more?’

Just to point out, my son loves to be at school before the school doors open, so I have effectively used this to get other tasks done, like socks, shoes, coat.

Son: ‘Ok mummy, is it ok if we do it after breakfast?’ *
NLP4Kids mum: ‘Of course sweetheart.’

Here goes, we start applying the sun-cream, boy runs off for a moment (he particularly dislikes sun-cream on his face) he returns and some protesting and slight raised tone of voice from my son occurs. NLP4Kids mum counts to three internally. Here I reinforce the question and statement about his understanding of why we are doing this.
‘If we get the cream on now then we will still be on target to get to school before the doors open’. He nods and says ‘yes and are we late yet?’
A success, the sun-cream has been applied to face and all and all is running on time!

The following day the same scenario occurs minus any tears and irritated tone. My son requests that we put it on after breakfast. This is awesome! No tears, no running off, a slight squirm when doing his face but that’s it! Result!! I got this!

Now, in my quest to be super mum, I forgot to tell daddy about the resolution of the sun-cream procedure. In my sheer panic of forgetfulness, I send him a quick text with about a million words to explain our new calm routine and what he should do if it goes a different way, whilst crossing my fingers for him.

I return home and with bated breath ask how it went…. my son was ok and had actually informed daddy that he hadn’t put enough on!! I think that was an epic moment.

We didn’t need to shop for a new sun-cream either, double result!

My learning from this?

1) Give yourself enough time to get all the things that need doing. I don’t like rushing around so why would I assume that the boy would?

2) You might understand why you’re doing something, but do they? They don’t need to know everything all of the time, however a simple explanation or even asking them their opinion on why we might need to do something will really change the outcome of that conversation as they now have some insight and understanding of what’s going to happen.


By Dawn Howell

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2 comments on “The Tale of The Boy, The Sun-cream and Me

  1. Trudy Hindmarsh on said:

    I agree with you Dawn that we often forget to think about how much understanding children have about what is going on. Sometimes they have big gaps but sometimes they have the essence of it and can explain it better than me 😀 Well done. Im glad that the morning rush is slightly less frenetic now x

  2. Helen Watson on said:

    Really interesting article, thank you!