baby on beach

6 Foolproof Tips For Putting Sunscreen On Toddlers

Published: 05/20/2022

Putting sunscreen on a toddler can feel like an epic battle–but it can be won with patience and a little creativity. It’s super important to slather your kiddo in SPF (and plenty of it!) before they head outside to play, so we’re sharing ideas to help get the job done.   

Here are 6 tips for putting sunscreen on your toddler:

#1 You Go First.

Kids love to mimic their parents, so start any sunscreen session by applying your own first. Talk to them about what you're doing and why you're doing it. Then let them help you rub it in! Messy? Yes. Effective? Also yes. 

#2 Play With It.

Have some fun with your SPF. Use your finger to draw shapes, numbers, letters, or animals on their skin before massaging it all in. Make it a game by having them guess what you’re drawing or writing. 

#3 Try A New Tool.

Some kiddos (and adults) hate the feeling of sunscreen on their hands, so use a wide paintbrush, rubber spatula, cotton ball, or makeup applicator to spread it around. Just make sure to rub it in well! For an idea on how much sunscreen to use, check out this article

#4 Distract Them.

Apply sunscreen while they’re strapped in the carseat and playing with a toy, or apply (and reapply) while they're drinking water or eating snacks. And maybe give them a little screen time if it means they’ll sit still long enough for you to get the job done! 

#5 Let Them Be Picky. 

Sunscreen comes in several different forms (manual spraycontinuous spraystick, and lotion), so keep all three handy and let your tot choose which one to use each time. Giving them agency *might* just make them a more willing participant!

#6 Keep Multiples On Hand.

For impromptu adventures outside (in any season!), don’t be caught without the sunscreen. Buy a few bottles at a time and keep it EVERYWHERE–the car, diaper bag, stroller, your back pocket!

Do you have a tried and true method for applying and reapplying sunscreen on your toddler? Please share! (And be sure to check out all of the great tips from our community in the comments below!)