A Day at the Beach
Since we are planning on spending a large amount of time at the beach on our trip, I thought I would dedicate this last entry in the series to the subject. There is a plethora of information and tons of other blog posts out there on this topic. These are just my nuggets of wisdom to share, some from experience and some from research.
*I apologize in advance for all of the “S”‘s. Once I got going, I couldn’t stop myself.
Safety– Have this talk with your kids before they even see the water. After they have laid eyes on that great big beautiful body of water, they will no longer be listening to you.
- Stay where Mommy can see you.
- Don’t go out deep without an adult.
- Wear your swim gear (if applicable, life vest, puddle jumper,etc.).
- If it is a crowded beach you may want to have the “stranger” talk. These ID tattoos are pretty amazing or a D.I.Y version that can be found here.
Sunscreen– I usually slather a thick coat of baby sunblock on the kids as I am putting their swim gear on so it has a chance to soak in and so that I know they have been fully coated. I do an extra application of the stick stuff on the face as well. After that, it is recommended that you reapply every 90 minutes or so depending on your exposure and activity. Don’t forget those sensitive and often forgotten areas like ears, noses, lips feet and hair parts. Rash guards are good for sun protect for boys and girls (bright colors if possible for quick locating).
Snack and Drinks– This is a no-brainer. Bring lots of yummy snacks (some healthy and some not – we are on vacation after all). I try to avoid things that will melt and make a mess like chocolate and then provide LOTS of liquids-preferably water. It is usually best if the snacks are easy to open and eat. Individual sizes of things that don’t require adult dispensing or utensils are easiest but can cause excess litter.
Shoes- (Don’t skip this one, that sand is HOT!) Bring a pair of cheap flip-flops in case you need to toss those sand ridden things upon departure.
Shade- There are various and sundry versions of beach shade. From tarps and tents to umbrellas and pop-up awnings. Choose what is best for your family. We tried a tent but it literally blew away so we have opted for a version of this. We anchor it into the sand and lower it close to the ground so that the wind can’t get under it and lift it away.
Seats- Some choose blankets, sheets or towels on the ground. This can get sandy, but it is the beach after all. I have even seen a cool trick where you take a fitted sheet and turn it upside down with the cooler and other large items tucked into the four corners to give it structure, thus keeping the sides taut and the sheet hopefully sand-free.
Chairs, folding camp chairs or cheap beach ones, are usually what we opt for. Especially the ones close to the ground (see Shade above).
I’ve also heard really amazing things about this one.
Sleep– If your kids nap or have daily rest time, I highly recommend finding a way for them to sneak it in, even a small, nap/rest while you are at the beach. Do your best. It’s all fun and games until someone has a throw down tantrum in the middle of a nice restaurant later. 🙂 Nobody wants that!
There are many options:
- Hold said child while he sleeps. HOT!
- I have seen people hollow out a spot for a baby in the sand and cover it ( the hole not the baby) with blankets to make a little “bed”.
- Pack ‘n plays on the beach (maybe buy an old one from Goodwill that you don’t mind getting sandy).
- The little baby tents work great.
- Even the foldable wagons with all of your stuff removed can create a good make-shift napping spot.
- Maybe this for an older kid, if they would lay down.
Surf and Sand Toys- This one is also a no-brainer but I did see a really cool tip while preparing for our trip. Put the sandy toys in a mesh laundry hamper so that the sand will fall out but not the toys.
Sand Removal– The surf and sand are so much fun, until it’s not. When those kids want the sand off, they want it off NOW! This trick has saved me so many times that I have just started traveling with these two items in my van. A generous sprinkle of baby powder will remove the offending grains of sand and leave your little one smelling fresh. If you don’t like using baby powder, cornstarch is also a good substitute.
Sand can get lodged in little eyes, as well, and cause a vast amount of pain and tears. Salt water is also irritating to those sensitive peepers. I keep a travel sized contact solution (saline) with us at all times in case something should get into their sweet little eyes.
Sitters- If you are lucky enough to be traveling with a hired sitter or extended family like we will be, having extra sets of eyes, ears and hands is always a welcome addition.
- Need to run back up to the room for something? – “Hey will you keep an eye on them for me?”
- Need to take only one kid to the potty in order to avoid a monumental meltdown in the other? – “Would you mind watching this one for a couple of minutes?”
- Need a 5-minute mental health break? – “Would you mind watching the kids for me while I take a solo walk down the beach and back?”
Supplemental- These are a few extra things that you may or may not find useful.
- First Aid Kit- well stocked including jelly fish defense
- Wipes (the disinfecting kind are great for a pre-meal hand wiping)
- Waterproof speakers for music
- A camera (in a resealable bag or other protection) or a LifeProof case for your phone so that you can safely capture those watery, sandy, precious moments
- Cash for miscellaneous beach purchases
- An inflatable baby pool. This is a great idea especially if you have little babies at the beach. Place the pool under your shade and use a bucket to fill with water. Keep baby cool, shaded, and content. Win!
I hope you and your family have an amazing trip to the beach. I want to hear all about it! What are your best beach tricks?