Whisking your kiddos off to the beach for the first time is an exciting adventure filled with sandcastles, seashells, and the occasional jellyfish sighting. But as parents, we also understand that any outing with children is like preparing for a tiny Apollo mission. A beach trip is no exception. So, to keep your little ones safe, entertained, and to avoid turning your beach outing into a beach “ouching,” we’ve prepared a list of 10 essential things you need to consider before heading seaside.
1. A Sandy Plan:
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to plan the perfect beach day. Understandably, you might not be a fan of planning, but remember, spontaneity is the spice of life…but only for people without kids. Get to know your beach of choice – is it usually crowded, is there enough shade, are the bathrooms clean? Does it have lifeguards? If the beach lacks lifeguards, just be ready to channel your inner Baywatch persona, minus the slow-motion running.
2. Suit Up for Success:
Invest in swimwear that keeps your child safe and comfortable. Avoid the cute but impractical suits that could lead to a wardrobe malfunction. Try finding swimwear with built-in UV protection. Remember, your kids are not boiled lobsters, and sunburns are the pinchers of the beach experience that we’d all like to avoid.
3. Lather, Rinse, Don’t Repeat:
Sunscreen is your secret weapon against the fiery ball in the sky, also known as the sun. Purchase a kid-friendly, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply it 30 minutes before beach exposure, and remember to reapply every two hours, or more often if your child turns into a part-time mermaid or merman. If your child ends up looking like a ghost from a surplus of sunscreen, just tell them they’re practicing for Halloween – they’ll be the healthiest looking ghost around!
4. Build Your Own Shade City:
While a sun-kissed glow may be the look du jour for grown-ups, babies and toddlers have sensitive skin that’s best kept in the shade. A beach umbrella, a pop-up beach tent, or even a rigged-up bedsheet could do the trick. As a bonus, a fortress of solitude also provides a great spot for that all-important beach nap – and we mean for you, not just the kids.
5. Hydrate to Dominate:
Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated. Remember, your little one is not a camel, and those tiny bodies can dehydrate pretty quickly in the sun. Bring more water than you think you’ll need – it’s better to return home with extra water bottles than to be stuck mid-beach without a drop in sight.
6. Snack Attack:
Bring plenty of healthy snacks. Sure, ice cream is a beach tradition, but you don’t want your little one on a sugar high in an environment where the only walls are made of sand. Stick to fruits, veggies, and finger foods. Remember, the seagulls are not part of your family and don’t need feeding – those little food thieves are quite adept at stealing picnic food when you least expect it.
7. Toys Ahoy:
From buckets and spades to inflatables, having a variety of beach toys can provide endless entertainment for your little ones. A word of caution though: while a beach ball is fun, an impromptu game of chase-the-beach-ball-down-the-beach is less so. Also, remember to bring something to carry the inevitable collection of seashells and ‘treasures’ your little pirates will discover.
8. Tide and True Safety:
The ocean isn’t just a giant bathtub. Teach your kids about beach safety – from the importance of not going too far into the water to understanding that not all sea creatures are as friendly as they are in “Finding Nemo.” Always keep a watchful eye on your little ones when they’re frolicking near the water.
9. No-Chafe is the New Norm:
Sandy, wet clothes can cause chafing faster than a barefoot beach sprint. Bring a change of clothes and some baby powder. The powder helps to remove sand from the skin easily. Why didn’t we learn this in school instead of algebra, right?
10. The Aftermath:
If you think the beach trip ends when you leave the beach, then oh buoy, you’re in for a surprise. Sand will invade your car, your house, your dreams – it’s the glitter of the natural world. Having a handheld vacuum in the car can mitigate the sandy situation and preserve your sanity.
So, there you have it! A list that should have you ready for a fun, safe, and memorable beach outing with your little sand monsters. You are now equipped with all the tools you need to conquer the beach with your little ones.
One last nugget of wisdom: don’t forget to pack your sense of humor because, at the end of the day, you’ll be making wonderful memories with your kids. And sure, you might come home with half the beach in your car and discover sand in places you didn’t know sand could reach, but hey, that’s the charm of a beach day!
Oh, and did we mention sunscreen? Just making sure, because trust us, the “red lobster look” is not the beach keepsake you want to bring home.