Down here in Melbourne we’re halfway through a massive heatwave. We’ve survived through two days of 40+ degree heat (that’s over 104 degrees farenheit for our U.S. readers) and we’ve got two more days to go before there is any relief in sight.
I’ve spent the time constructively developing some rules for dealing with small children in an extreme heatwave. They’re working for me so far.
1. DO NOT attempt to enforce any normal rules
This includes, but is not limited to:
- Diet – the new staple food is icy poles. Vegetables are off the menu. Fruit is in, the juicier the better (watermelon, strawberries, rockmelon have all been great hits).
- Manners – “please”, “thank you” and “may I leave the table” have no place once the mercury goes above 39 degrees.
- Tidying up – leave the toys, you can tidy them up together after the cool change arrives. My husband has perfected an excellent method of sweeping all the toys into a corner of the room using a sturdy broom. No bending required.
2. DO regularly douse the children in water
Buckets, cups, wet flannels, clean sponges, as many water pistols as you can find in the cupboard. Send them all outside in the shade and refill often.
The answer to the question “Can I have some more water, please, Mum?” is always “Yes, darling, of course” even if it is accompanied by whingeing and crying and phrased at top volume as “GET ME MORE WATER!!!!!!! NOOOOOOOOW!!!”.
If you happen to know someone who has a pool, move in with them.
3. DO NOT attempt to do unnecessary housework
The kids’ clothes may be considered washed if you dress them, send them outside and hose them down. If you’re really concerned, rub them down with soap first. After the first soaking, have them run around the backyard a few times while you wave the hose at them. This is called a “spin cycle”.
Microwave dinners won’t heat up your kitchen, the toilet will practically clean itself if you flush it regularly and the floor will still need vacuuming on Saturday when it is forecast to be a comparatively chilly 23 degrees. If you rub a few towels over the floor when the kids trek water in from outside, you may consider it mopped.
4. DO seek out air conditioning where possible
If you have refrigerated air conditioning at home, turn it on and don’t open any doors or windows or leave the house for any reason. Order pizza if you have to.
If you don’t, find your local major shopping centre and join all the other parents at the centre’s indoor playground where they will be flopping around looking exhausted while the kids run around like maniacs squealing as though they actually got some sleep last night.
5. Consider purchasing real estate in Iceland
I found a website here. It assures me it is 3 degrees in Iceland today and I can buy one of twenty-five flats for sale. I’m sold.
P.S. On a practical note, if you’re looking for things to do with the kids while you’re holed up at home in your lovely refrigerated air conditioning, try these rainy day activities from our friends at Mornington Peninsula Kids.