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By Melanie K. Nelson

The 4th of July is always marked by hot weather and lots of outdoor activities.  Unfortunately for parents, this holiday can sometimes become synonymous with hot, fussy, tired children!  Follow my tips and hopefully you can have a fuss-free fourth!

Start the day with a nutritious breakfast with minimal sugar

If your plans include parades, cook-outs (with lots of sweets) and festivals, there is a good chance that your kids will be eating a lot of sweets and junk food through out the day.  Start them off on the right food with protein and veggie filled food like omelets for breakfast!

Pack a healthy snack

Along the same lines as the previous point, think high protein, low sugar so that your kids don’t just reach for parade candy when they are hungry.  I love baby carrots and hummus because they are OK even if they don’t stay cold!

Bring sunscreen with you

Even if you apply it before leave home, the kids (and adults!) will need it to be reapplied often through out the day.  If you are going to be near the ocean be sure to get a “reef safe” sunscreen!

Pack activities

There is bound to be a bit of waiting time, whether it is waiting for the parade to start, the food to be ready, of the fireworks show to begin and kids are easily board.  Bring a deck of cards, a football to toss, or games that travel well (no small pieces) so that you have fun things to do as a family while you wait for the next event to begin!

Schedule a nap

Depending on the ages of your children, consider planning an hour or two to go home to relax or take naps.  This can prevent a worn out, fussy family.

Stay hydrated!!

I can’t stress enough how easy it is to become dehydrated while spending all day in the sun.  Pack a cooler full of water, not sodas, sports drinks or high sugar juices.  If you want to make water more exciting try adding slices of fresh lemons, limes, oranges, or cucumbers!

I hope this helps you have a safe and fun Independence Day with your family!