Are you feeling the heat? If you live in one of the places experiencing record heat waves this summer, then you probably are. And if you live in a place without air conditioning, then being home all day or trying to sleep at night can be miserable for both you and your family. So what can you do about it?
Cool the house
One of the best ways to cool down your house is to open your windows at night to let cool air in. It also helps to open doors in your house (including closets and cabinets) so they don't trap the heat of the day in. Then close the windows as soon as the sun starts shining on your house. This should keep your house cool for several hours. During the day, close the curtains on the warm side of the house and slightly open the windows on the cool side to keep a bit of a breeze. Also remember to angle blinds so they block the sun, meaning you see the ground and not the sky when you look through them. And if you are feeling adventurous, you can make a do-it-yourself air conditioner for pretty cheap. There are several videos on YouTube.com that can show you how, like this one.
Get creative with cooking
Plan your meals so that you don't have to do a lot of cooking over the stove, and resist turning on your oven. A crockpot, toaster oven or microwave can be used if it's necessary to heat something. You can also cook outside on a grill or plan dinners that don't need heat, like salads and sandwiches. What you eat also affects your body temperature, so avoid large, protein-rich meals that will kick your metabolism into high gear and make you warmer. Instead go for lighter meals and things that are easier to metabolize, like fruits and veggies.
Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated helps keep your body cooler. Get your hair or clothing wet and sit in front of a fan. Cool down with a water activity like a kiddie pool, a hose, squirt guns, water balloons or swimming. Even getting in a lukewarm bath can help. Take advantage of the cooling power of water! Bonus: You can also use water to cool things in your house. You can get your sheets slightly damp before going to bed, or hang a wet sheet from a window at night before using it.
If you're only going to be around the house, it doesn't matter what you're wearing! You and your kids can run around in your underwear for all anyone cares. Or if you prefer to stay dressed, wear loose-fitting natural fabrics (like linen and cotton) and stick with lighter colors. Also forget the shoes and socks, since sweaty feet make your whole body warmer.
If all else fails, get out of your house during the hottest part of the day. There are so many places you can go, and most of them have great air conditioning. Try a shady park, a library, a mall, a fast food restaurant with a play place or even a department or a thrift store. You can also take your family to a movie theater or spend time visiting with friends or family who do have air conditioning.
You can survive the summer. Try to stay as cool as possible and remember to be aware of signs of heat exhaustion in your family members just in case.