Summer is quickly approaching, which means the all-too-familiar battle of getting your kids to wear sunscreen is also about to start. Sun protection is especially critical for young children, as the majority of skin damage and excessive sun often comes in childhood.

However, twenty-seven percent of parents with kids under twelve years old say they never or only sometimes apply sunscreen on their kids when they’re outside for 2 to 4 hours. And 14 percent say they don’t even apply sunscreen on their kids when they’re outside for more than four hours, according to Consumer Reports.

Sunscreen does more than just protect against uncomfortable sunburns. It also protects against conditions that can have a huge impact on your child’s health later on in life, such as skin damage and skin cancer.

Here are some tips on how to get your children to wear sunscreen without complaining:

  • Apply sunscreen at home: If you wait until you’re at the beach or park before trying to apply sunscreen, your children are not going to want to wait before they can go play. Sunscreen should also be applied at least 15 minutes before sun exposure.
  • Use a lightweight formula for sensitive skin: Kids don’t like wearing sunscreen because it feels heavy and can easily irritate their eyes. Look for lightweight, non-chemical sunscreen to minimize skin and eye irritation!
  • Apply sunscreen in the car: You’re probably thinking this sounds like a terrible idea. But for infants and toddlers, applying sunscreen while they’re in their car seat lessens their ability to put up a fight or squirm away from you.
  • Turn it into a game: One way to get kids excited about putting on sunscreen is to make it seem like a game. Tell your children that the sunscreen is like face paint and have them guess what shape you’re “painting” with the lotion, and then rub it in after. Happily Ever Mom has more sunscreen games and tricks.
  • Take turns putting on sunscreen: This is a great way to ensure you get the sunscreen coverage you need as well. After you apply sunscreen on their faces, let your kids apply it to your face as a reward!
  • Make it a habit: If you start applying sunscreen as a part of your daily routine, kids will accept that it’s just a part of getting dressed for the day. Instilling this practice from a young age can ensure they’ll grow up with good skin-protecting habits!