Passionate About Boston
and the Moms Who Live Here

Manage It Like a Pro: Surviving the Beach with Small Kids

Beach bliss.

Beach season, my friends, is almost upon us.

When I arrived here last summer from my landlocked native land, I was really excited about going to the beach. Like REALLY excited. I was going to go every day! The kids were going to love it! I was going to get a tan! I set out on our first trip with my then 18-month-old and 3.3-year-old, and very quickly a few realities were established. It was HOT. Like, dangerous-for-the-kids hot. And what’s with these flies that bite you?! Also, walking back to your car alone with two kids in 90-degree weather should be on the list of things to never do in your lifetime.

And yet, I LOVED it! Quickly I found some great ways to make our beach experience fantastic. I can tell you that we went once a week, every week, ALL summer. Yes, that is how much we love the beach at our house. If you want to partake in the same fun, try my handy tips, and by all means, please share your own!

1. Buy an umbrella

This is critical. It’s a great investment, and you and your kids can spend way longer at the beach while basking in the shade. I found this one to be really lovely, and it protects from wind, too.

2. Get there early

Our ideal time was from 9 to 11 a.m. Two hours is the sweet spot for our beach going. Any longer and the kids start to run off in different directions, hysteria sets in, and a general malaise ends our beach morning. It’s also the least hot part of the day.

3. Sand in the snacks

I’m still trying to find a good way to solve this one. Bring talcum powder with you, throw it on your child, and like magic, the sand comes off. I found this useful not only when leaving the beach, but right before eating snacks and/or lunch, as there is nothing worse than eating sand. Nothing.

4. Beware of the greenhead flies!

In the month of July, greenhead flies descend upon most beaches along the coast — and they bite you. It hurts. Avon SkinSoSoft is the only known repellant.

5. Beach toys: Don’t overdo it

What comes in must go out. As you prance onto the beach, fresh as a daisy, it’s easy to carry everything. On the way out, you’re tired, your kids are tired, and the last thing you want to do is lug a large amount of beach toys. A couple shovels, a couple buckets… that should do the trick.

6. If you have really little ones, try the peapod tent

It’s a nice shelter from the sun and a super safe place to put baby. Failing that, keep a keen eye on baby and hope she doesn’t eat TOO much sand! Also, bring your wrap, Ergo, or whatever babywearing transport device you prefer — this will make everyone happier.

There is no substitute for nature.

There is no substitute for nature.

This is easy! Not something to stress about, and in my opinion one of the best parts of living in Massachusetts. The beach is where memories are made, and I hope my kids remember frolicking in the sand and water, exploring nature, and feeling the wind in their hair.

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