It’s essential that your baby wear a hat as protection against the sun, and it can be pretty easy to encourage them to do this.
I've been lucky to have two boys who willingly and lovingly wear their hats nearly everywhere we go, but it took some amount of work, patience, and luck to get them to be the hat-loving boys that they are today.
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Choose a Variety of Hats for Your Baby
Start by building up an arsenal of options of hats. Some your baby may love, others they may hate. I have found the best luck with purchasing hats either through a local consignment shop, or Amazon. Please don’t spend a ton of money on hats.
These things only last for a few months as your child grows. Get them on sale, or second hand when you can.
However, having a bunch of different hats can help you test the waters of which one they may be more apt to want to wear.
The Secret Trick To Get Your Kid to Wear a Hat
As soon as our baby boys could hold their neck up without support, we started putting hats on them, both inside the house and outside. I love the page boy caps to serve as an excellent trainer hat.
Girls look adorable in these too.
But that’s not the real secret trick… The idea is to put the hat on when they are distracted by something else. Anything else.
The most effective time to put on a hat was the moment we pulled them from their car seat after we arrived anywhere.
They were always bursting to take in the scenery and new location.
They always seemed in awe of the colors or sounds, and boom.
That's when the hat went on. And nine times out of ten it stayed on.
Also…Use Peer Pressure to Get Your Child To Wear a Hat
If your child is a bit older and you missed that window where they couldn’t quite resist, try using a little good ole fashioned peer pressure.
There’s something about seeing friends wearing a hat that encourages other children to want to try it. Sam’s hat is constantly taken from him at day care. I wish his teachers would just say to the parents “I think your kid wants a hat!”
I have a good friend who has a daughter Sam's age, and she was struggling to get her daughter to wear a hat. We scheduled a play date with the goal of trying to get her daughter to wear a hat.
Sam predictably wore his favorite hat the whole time.
Something about seeing Sammy (her best friend at school) wearing his hat, while also having her own hat available, was all her daughter needed. From then on she was entirely hat invested (and still is to this day over a year later)!
She even spent several months insisting on napping in her hat!
Have Your Child Shop for Hats With You
There's something about the idea of "getting to pick something out" that all toddlers love.
It almost doesn't matter what it is. The only way this can get tricky is if you've been the mom who gives in nearly every time you go to Target to get something. (And sister, I've been there. No judgment.)
Children love to feel empowered in part of making a decision. My child already loved hats so this was admittedly pretty easy. But if your kid is skeptical maybe offer it as a “let’s try on a bunch of different ones to see which one is your favorite kind!”
Maybe the hat you’ve been trying to get him to wear was too scratchy. Or too tight on his forehead. There is no telling what will set a toddler off.
For us, after a far-too-long stroll around Target, we ended up with a cute little straw hat that he loved and wore for months. Which was later replaced by the below hats that the boys found at a local consignment shop.
Persistence is Key
I believe that children need to feel that they have some choice in all things. And I also think that some choices are age-dependent. I love the idea of "freedom within limits" which is essentially the Montessori model of daycare.
I let my 2-year-old pick between two shirts for example and not all of the shirts.
If getting your child to wear a hat is important to you, keep trying. There may come a point where it clicks and they love the hat. There may also come a point for you where it doesn't fucking matter anymore, and sunscreen will have to do...and that's fine too.
But, before you give up, try to give yourself (and your kid) a good college try with tons of different hats, different tactics and more.
Let me know if any of these tips worked in the comments below! Or send me a message on Instagram under one of the pics of the boy's hats.