6 Foolproof Tips For Putting Sunscreen On Toddlers

6 Foolproof Tips For Putting Sunscreen On Toddlers

Putting sunscreen on a toddler can feel like an epic battle–but it can be won with patience and a little creativity. It’s super important to slather your kiddo in SPF (and plenty of it!) before they head outside to play, so we’re sharing ideas to help get the job done.   

Here are 6 tips for putting sunscreen on your toddler:

#1 You Go First.

Kids love to mimic their parents, so start any sunscreen session by applying your own first. Talk to them about what you're doing and why you're doing it. Then let them help you rub it in! Messy? Yes. Effective? Also yes. 

#2 Play With It.

Have some fun with your SPF. Use your finger to draw shapes, numbers, letters, or animals on their skin before massaging it all in. Make it a game by having them guess what you’re drawing or writing. 

#3 Try A New Tool.

Some kiddos (and adults) hate the feeling of sunscreen on their hands, so use a wide paintbrush, rubber spatula, cotton ball, or makeup applicator to spread it around. Just make sure to rub it in well! For an idea on how much sunscreen to use, check out this article

#4 Distract Them.

Apply sunscreen while they’re strapped in the carseat and playing with a toy, or apply (and reapply) while they're drinking water or eating snacks. And maybe give them a little screen time if it means they’ll sit still long enough for you to get the job done! 

#5 Let Them Be Picky. 

Sunscreen comes in several different forms (manual spray, continuous spray, stick, and lotion), so keep all three handy and let your tot choose which one to use each time. Giving them agency *might* just make them a more willing participant!

#6 Keep Multiples On Hand.

For impromptu adventures outside (in any season!), don’t be caught without the sunscreen. Buy a few bottles at a time and keep it EVERYWHERE–the car, diaper bag, stroller, your back pocket!

Do you have a tried and true method for applying and reapplying sunscreen on your toddler? Please share! (And be sure to check out all of the great tips from our community in the comments below!)


Apply before you head to your outdoor location if possible! We lather ours on at our house, then by the time we walk to the neighborhood pool, they can jump right in! It lets us apply thoroughly without any distractions (and in the A/C) and then they feel like they don’t have to wait when we get there! Win win 😊

Kelley on

My trick for getting kids to cooperate with sunscreen is to fill my hands, then leave handprints on their chest and back. They think it’s so silly and fun! (Then quickly rub it in before they run away!!)

Louise Baker on

Best sunscreen tip would be to use a make up brush (blush or big bronzer brush) to spread the sunscreen in the difficult locations like around the ears, hands and face x

Kerrie on

Using a sun stick best for squirmy babies!!

Jennifer on

I sing a song while applying to make it fun and easy to apply! First thing in the morning I always put it on as summer is here and the sunshine is calling!!

Ashley Schultz on

Sunscreens have specific reapply after a certain amount of minutes. So that I don’t forget to reapply from all the fun, I like to put an alarm on my phone 10 minutes before that time is up. This way I have enough time to reapply sunscreen on both kids and myself. And then I reset the timer as needed.

Steph T on

I always tell my son, hold my shoulders and look at the sky! He lets me slather all the sunscreen on! Love love love the hello Bello sun stuff! I also learned from them that it’s ok not to rub it in all the way so he usually looks like a mime!

Jessica Bruneau on

Sing a song for qpplying sunscreen. Also helps for brushing teeth lol

Katie on

Use a foundation brush for baby’s face it makes applying sunscreen so much easier.

Lindsay on

Find the sunscreen song on YouTube! It goes through all the steps of application in a fun way that keeps your kid entertained until you are done!

Leighton Hainline on

The best trick I found to apply sunscreen to my toddler girls is to apply the sunscreen to my hands and sing songs while applying the sunscreen on their skin also is a great way to get them to help massage in the sunscreen.

J. Devine on

The best trick I found to apply sunscreen to my toddler girls is to apply the sunscreen to my hands and sing songs while applying the sunscreen on their skin also is a great way to get them to help massage in the sunscreen.

J. Devine on

Grab a cheap makeup brush and spray the sunscreen on it to help apply to the kiddos faces! I’ve also drawn hearts and smiley faces with the sunscreen before rubbing it in on their arms and legs!

Aryn Bailey on

Warm up the continuous spray before applying to your child’s skin by spraying it in your hands and rubbing them together!

Taylor Haragan on

My best hack would be less is more 😅

Tayler Shaver on

I love these tips! I use a makeup brush to apply sunscreen to my little guy. He doesn’t fight me because I let him play with the brush before and then tell him that’s what we use to put on the sunscreen. Not only does it make it easy (no more squeezing his face to get him to sit still) but it keeps my hands clean! Tried and true, use a makeup brush for applying sunscreen to little ones face (especially) and body!

Kaileigh on

My best tip is for face application, my toddlers love when I make funny sounds and squish their cheeks! I run some sunscreen on my hands and squish (and rub) away!

Jordan M on

A friend just shared the tip with me to use a makeup sponge! Genuis!

Julie Miko on

These are great tips!
My littles love to play "connect the dots’ with sunscreen, I will place little dots all over and they have fun making sure every dot is connected.
We do love sunscreen spray the most and make sure its evenly applied with a make up sponge or brush, after they try making shapes or designs with the spray.

Elizabeth Conklin on

We love to use foundation brushes to apply sunscreen on the kiddos!

Amanda King on

Love using a beauty blender for easy and quick application!

Christy Shu on

If driving to the pool we apply sunscreen before we get in the car so I don’t have to fight with my toddlers at the pool . Like to use stick sunscreen to make faces easier .

Cayli on

My toddler loves when I explain to her what I’m doing and let her help! It also doesn’t hurt if the sunscreen smells nice and I have different options for her to choose from. A makeup brush works great for applying to her face.

Ciara on

I use a foundation brush on my kids faces with sunscreen! Makes it so much Easter and they aren’t as “scared”!

Olivia on

My girls love to see who can be the first/ fastest to put sunscreen on. Winner gets to choose what we eat. They have gotten used to wearing it at this point that they sometimes remind me

Estefany Ortiz on

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