We have officially hit the peak of summer! Hot days, warm nights, drippy ice cream cones, and a definite need for swimming. I’ve read plenty of satirical posts about kids and beach days, and man, they are pretty hilarious. I’ve also seen lots of moms reaching out for advice on how to get through a beach day or asking if they’re crazy for even attempting one. Sadly, the responses are mostly negative. I’m surprised at the number of people who believe a beach day is worse than a visit to the gyno. When did this New England pastime of playing in the waves and sand become such a nightmare?
If you, like me, grew up going to beach, you probably looked forward to making salty memories with your littles. I’m here to tell you it’s not an impossible dream! Will it be relaxing? Not likely. Will you be able to read a magazine or a book? Maybe? Will you have fun? I hope so! Heading to the beach as a family definitely has its challenges, but it’s also a great opportunity to see your little ones explore new territory. If you’re looking for ideas on how to tackle a beach day, here are some tips that I hope will help you not only survive a day with your crew, but fall in love with the beach again!
Invest in a decent beach tent
These are easy to find. Ours was gifted by my mother-in-law, and we used it so much we completely wore the thing out! A tent was an awesome addition to our gear, especially when my guys were infants. We could allow the baby to sleep in his car seat under the tent and avoid major sun exposure. It’s also a great place for toddler naps, your cooler, and other gear you don’t want sitting in the hot sun.
Bring your own snacks and lunch
I highly recommend making your lunches and setting out your snacks the night before. We are often lazy about this one, but it’s a major time saver. Try to bring snacks that don’t ned to be kept cool to allow for a smaller cooler. Bring things they love, and don’t stress about them being super healthy — it’s a beach day, so leave the carrot sticks for another time! Place water bottles in the freezer the night before — that way they become solid ice and will stay cool until you’re ready to offer them to the kids. If all is prepared the night before, the only stop you should have to make is for a bag of ice and an iced coffee at Dunk’s!
Go early and leave early
One of the hardest parts about a beach day is the heat, the sun, and the potential for interrupting nap time. If your kids are like mine, and 6 a.m. is the new 9 a.m., go with it! Pile them into the car and get them moving when they’re at their best. Grab some Munchkins when you make your coffee run or hand them granola bars on the way — whatever gets you out of the house quickly! You’ll make it to the beach before traffic gets crazy and the sun is at its highest, and you’ll be ready to leave after an early lunch. For us, it’s just in time for naps, which means a quiet car and another coffee run!
Sunscreen them in their car seats
Lets face it — no kid wants to be sun screened. They will scream and squirm until you want to cry. But if they’re in a car seat, they can’t run away! You’re supposed to apply 30 minutes prior to being out anyway, so once they are in the car, bust out the goods. This makes application on the face and ears sooooo much easier! You also avoid the inevitable dart to the water/avoidance of the sunscreen ritual when you arrive.
Store your beach toys in your car at all times
We have a pre-packed bag with pails, shovels, sand molds, and trucks so we can avoid the “pick out which toys you want to bring” battle. They’ll want to grab a couple of last minute things on the way out, but the basics are already packed. We also keep our chairs in the van so they’re always ready to go!
Bring dry clothes, diapers, etc. for after the beach
As soon as we’re done for the day, everyone gets changed out of the wet stuff and into cozy dry stuff. I wrap towels around the kids, stand them up on a beach chair to avoid the reapplication of sand, and get them in exactly what they would wear for a nap. And here’s a tip I have yet to try: If one of your lovelies decides to plant himself back in the sand? Baby powder! Supposedly, you dust some on and the sand falls off. I keep forgetting the powder at home, but it’s an awesome tip and I intend to put it to the test before this summer fades away.
It can be done, and at the very least it’s worth another go if you’ve been unsuccessful so far. Some kids simply don’t like the beach, and that’s OK — you gave it your best shot! But don’t avoid it just because you think it’s impossible! You can have a fabulous day if you plan ahead, keep it simple, and remember to go with the flow and have fun!
What’s your best tip for beach survival?