WA // Healthy Habits – SunSmart Time Savers
Developing healthy SunSmart habits and routines early in the year encourages children to take increasing responsibility for their own personal health and physical wellbeing. It helps to instill important attitudes and values for a healthy, active lifestyle and demonstrate values consistent with prevention of ill-health.
Spending time at the start of the year to establish healthy habits, routines, and rituals will embed SunSmart practices that children can use in outdoor activities.
Curriculum and lesson planning
Classroom teachers are in a great position to introduce predictable and organisational routines in their classrooms. Incorporating some SunSmart practices to daily routines will soon become just a natural part of the day.
- Timetable ‘applying sunscreen’ lessons early in the school year to explicitly teach students how to apply it by themselves. Check out our Generation SunSmart website for classroom activity ideas and lesson plans.
- Include the daily UV Index forecast as part of your first morning meeting, visit the MyUV website com.au and see how the UV changes throughout the day. Better still, add the free SunSmart UV Index widget for your school website, or add the SunSmart app to student devices.
*The small change of adding the UV Index into your morning routine is a great timesaver for not only teaching children to practice sun safe practices but to understand WHY it is important to be sun safe when the UV Index is 3 or above.
Make it as simple as possible for children to be SunSmart by keeping sun protective items close to the door/handy for them to apply or grab on their way outside encouraging automatic and healthy habits.
- Set up a table with sunscreen that is in a central location or located in high traffic areas, particularly the entry door to the classroom.
- Set up a SunSmart Sunscreen Station to have available to students throughout the day. Include posters from the Generation SunSmart website on how to apply sunscreen, a mirror and of course SPF30+ broad spectrum and water-resistant sunscreen.
- If you are short on space, try a small portable sunscreen trolley that can be wheeled in and outside the classroom. Students arrive at school, hang their bags up, visit the sunscreen trolley and head into class.
- Hats! Consider where children will keep their hats and make them accessible for students, such as in trays, school bag or hook or designated table or basket. Students may need their hat for OHSC or to use on the weekend, so giving students the option of taking their hats home can help with those out of school sun protective behaviours.
- Role model! Don’t forget to protect your own skin with a hat and sunscreen.
*Sunscreen reduces the amount of UV radiation reaching your skin by providing a barrier to absorb or filter UV rays away from your skin, preventing damage to the cells below.
It is not practical or efficient for a teacher or EA to apply sunscreen to a full classroom of kids. Here are some time saver ideas that will help with getting students to apply sunscreen regularly.
- Watch the Applying Sunscreen video on the Generation SunSmart website and explicitly teach children to correctly apply sunscreen early. Applying sunscreen independently, fosters responsibility to do this themselves.
- Allocate students as SunSmart buddies – this buddy will help other students if needed while they apply their sunscreen.
- Line students up and apply a ‘squirt’ of sunscreen to their open hands as they leave the classroom.
- Concerned about sunscreen allergies? Ask parents to provide their own labelled sunscreen to use.
*The National Health and Medical Research Council advises that children who are able to apply their own sunscreen (under supervision) should be encouraged to do so. This fosters independence and responsibility. Most children should be physically able to apply sunscreen independently by the time they start Kindergarten.
Cancer Council WA has a SUPER SunSmart book pack competition for schools.