Remember when you used to decide on a whim to head to the beach? You’d throw sunscreen, water bottle, towel and a good book in your beach bag and off you went.
It’s not quite the same with kids.
When kids are involved the game is changed.
Not only do you have to plan your trip, but you have to pack snacks and activities for the ride on top of snacks and activities (toys) for the beach. They all need their own towel and of course it has to be the right towel. They also need spray and lotion sunscreen because one prefers the spray but the other hates it. Every floatie you’ve ever bought is coming with you and so are 9 hats, 12 shovels and an endless supply of random stuff like an empty plastic bag for garbage so you don’t have to walk to the garbage can every 5 minutes.
Beach days can be a lot of work with kids.
Here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned that help me survive a beach day with my kids:
- Layer on the sunscreen before you leave home. It’s simple; no base coat, no beach. I put another layer on as soon as we park! Don’t wait to get to your spot because we both know it’s going to take a solid twenty minutes to get set up and your kid is not waiting that long to get in the water!
- Sit near a landmark if you can so everyone knows where you are. Maybe it’s beside a lifeguard stand or a huge, bright sun tent the family of 10 beside you brought and might be living in. As long as it’s something everyone can identify and find easily whether floating in the water or coming back from the bathroom (‘cause no one ever pees in the lake), it works!
- As often as you can, reapply sunscreen to yourself and the kids. I like to do this when they emerge for a snack or when they finally decide to start to build that sandcastle that ultimately turns into a giant hole or a single structure with 50 feathers sticking out of it. It might be difficult to use the lotion at this point so just invade their personal space with the spray sunscreen without announcing yourself and before they can object.
- Whenever my kids want a ‘treat’ they have to drink ‘x’ amount of water. I know they think they don’t need to drink but they do. If it takes bribery to keep them hydrated then so be it. It’s better than heat stroke! Bring lots of water and don’t take no for an answer when they complain about it.
- Bring a garbage bag. Between wrappers from Bear Paws, napkins and wipes, and even tags off of new toys, it’s better to have one handy then trek to the garbage can over and over again. Just drop it off in the main bin when you leave and you’re good!
- Don’t forget clean underwear. If it’s a bit of a drive to the beach, everyone would rather a dry bum then a wet/damp one sitting on a cold, wet towel for the ride home.
Going to the beach prepared will save you at least some of the anxiety of having kids out in the sun, near the water in a large crowd all day.
You might not be able to relax and read the day away but beach days make some of the best memories for kids so get out there and play catch, run along the shore and buy the fries from the fry stand that’s too expensive! The kids will have a great day and so will you!
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