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How to get kids to keep their hats on

You’re probably familiar with this situation: you place a hat on your little one’s head, or remind them to put on one, only for them to protest and generally give you a hard time. You keep trying, but your attempts seem futile. Hats are essential in protecting kids against the sun, which is why you shouldn’t give up trying to get them to keep theirs on.

10 ways to get kids to keep their hats on

1. Start them young, no matter the season

    It’s never too early to start getting your child used to wearing hats. When babies wear accessories like beanies or headbands from a very young age, they’re much more likely to be willing to wear hats throughout their childhood.

    2. Choose the right hat style

    There are several hat styles for kids, but not all of them will suit your little individual. Here are some of the most popular ones among kids:

    • Legionnaire /baby flap hat style

    These are best suited to newborns and infants. You'll often see babies wearing them in strollers and carriers. The flap of the hat is designed to lie flat, and the brim keeps their faces protected without being too invasive.

    • toddler/baby buckets 

    As your child grows older, you can add toddler buckets to their hat collection. Toddlers like to explore the outdoors, and this hat type offers that extra protection that they need all around their head and neck.

    • Broad brims/larger bucket hats

    Older kids transition to larger bucket hats. These have a slightly different shape to accommodate their growing crowns. Broad brim hats have a more upright design as well as deeper brims which offer more coverage to shoulders and chests. Some of these hats have the anti-flop brim design to keep them from flopping in kids’ eyes.

    3. Explain why hats are important

    One of the reasons why your child may be resistant to hats is they don’t understand why they need them. Try being honest by gently explaining that if he/she doesn’t wear a hat, the sun will burn his head, neck, and face and it will hurt a lot.

    4. A little distraction goes a long way

    Sometimes the only way you can get your child to wear a hat and keep it on is by distracting them. Try offering them their favorite toy or a snack as you do it, or put it on while they’re playing or focused on their favorite TV show 

    5. Find the right fit

    Hats come in a variety of sizes, so you want to make sure that the hat you buy for your little one fits and sits correctly. A too big hat can impede their vision and make them uncomfortable, and one that is too small will slide off their heads and annoy them. Always measure your child’s crown before buying a hat to prevent this. 

    6. Make it fun

    Wearing a hat shouldn’t feel like a chore. Try to make it a fun thing that they want to do willingly. How about putting their hat on your head? Or putting yours on theirs? You’ll probably get a giggle if you try to put a hat on inside out, backward, or back-to-front. Try putting different items on your head and asking them if they like your hat. When they laugh at your silly antics and say no, ask them to help you find your hat, and encourage them to wear theirs as well.

    You can also teach them to associate wearing a hat with good things. They can learn that wearing a hat means that they’re going to a zoo, or that it’s time for a walk to their favorite ice cream place.

    7. Allow them to choose a hat to wear

    Kids love to be included in all sorts of activities. They also thrive on perceived power. In addition to taking them hat shopping, allow them a choice of what hat to wear each day. Rather than breaking the bank on one summer hat, pay a little less and buy a couple. Then you can allow them to pick from the options you present them.

    If your child show hesitance, maybe offer the opportunity as “let’s try on different colors/types to see which one you like the most!” Listen to your child’s concerns. Maybe the hat you’ve been insisting he/she wears was too tight on his forehead or too scratchy, making him/her have difficulty keeping it on. 

    8. Be a good role model

    Kids pick up on everything, including hat-wearing habits. If you’re constantly telling them to put on their hats but you couldn’t be bothered to do the same, they’ll start putting up a fight. Be a good role model and lead by example by wearing a hat yourself. You might not be a big fan of hats, but do it for your kids. Do some shopping and find a hat that you can live with. For all you know, you might just come across a design that you like!

    9. Persistence is key

    Don’t give up on getting them to wear hats. Keep putting it back on whenever they take it off - they’ll eventually give up on fighting you or learn to love hats. Come up with a rule that if they take off the hat they have to go inside. When your child removes his/her hat, send him indoors and explain that he/she is not allowed to go back out unless he//she puts the hat back on his/her head.

    10. Some good old-fashioned peer pressure might just work

    If your little one is a bit older and you missed the opportunity where they couldn’t quite resist, try using peer pressure. There’s something about seeing their peers wear hats that makes other kids want to try it.

    Final thoughts

    Wearing a hat is important for your little one, especially in the glaring heat of the summer. Getting them used to the idea of wearing this handy accessory not only protects them from harmful effects of the sun but also teaches them the value of protecting themselves from UV rays exposure, a life lesson that can never be learned early enough.

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