Beach Bum 101: How to Have a Fun and Safe Beach Day with Kids
Longer days are upon us and summer is fast approaching! Your kids will be clamoring for a beach day before you know it. Unfortunately for most parents, the beach can bring more stress than relaxation. This is especially true for parents of really young children or first-time beachgoers. Here are a few simple tips to wash away your worries.
Plan and Pack
As parents, planning comes second nature. And when it comes to a beach day, planning becomes especially important. There is a wide range of necessities for a day that is both fun and safe. First think about the things you’ll absolutely need, like food, snacks, water, towels, sunscreen, diapers, baby formula, etc. Packing things like bandages, aloe, a change of clothes, and a mini first aid kit is also a good idea. Next, pack some things for your kids to play with, like shovels, buckets, a frisbee, snorkel, or crabbing nets. If your child wants to go in the water, don’t forget their life vest, floaties, kickboard, or whatever else they will need to keep them safe.
Bring Waterproof Essentials
In addition to the items listed above, pay special attention to the waterproof things you bring, or more importantly, the things that aren’t waterproof. With kids, we all know accidents happen. To avoid damage to any of their toys or your belongings, shop around beforehand for some waterproof enclosures that lock tight. These are easy to find in most big retail stores and are relatively cheap. They are perfect for storing your phone, keys, headphones, wallet, etc. Even if your stuff is stowed away in a bag, there is still a chance it can get wet. So it’s best to be safe rather than sorry! As for your kids, bring only their toys that are waterproof or machine washable and highly discourage them from bringing any electronics. After all, this is supposed to be a day in nature and away from technology.
When it comes to sunscreen, there’s no such thing as too much. For the best results, apply the sunscreen 15-30 minutes prior to sun exposure. To make life easier, apply the sunscreen at home so there is less fussing when you actually get to the beach. Opt for a waterproof sunscreen (especially if your family will be swimming or sweating) as well as one that is made without harsh chemicals. Make sure you don’t forget any areas, especially the feet, hands, face, and ears. If your child is under the age of 4 or has particularly pale skin, consider bringing along a sun hat for added protection and consult your doctor before trying any new products.
Establish Play Zones
The beach is all about exploring and getting creative with play. But you want to give your kids the freedom to play only within the comforts of your protection. A great way to do so is by creating a barrier that your kids can play inside. Bringing along a tent or creating a barricade is great for babies and toddlers who are just learning to explore on their own. Older kids are a bit harder to keep near, so set some general guidelines for them to follow. For example, you can say something like “don’t walk past the bright yellow row of umbrellas or don’t swim past the fifth pole on the pier”.
Call in for Backup
Your first few beach outings can be a lot to handle. There’s no shame in asking a close family member or babysitter to join you on your trip to add an extra set of eyes. With so many kids running around on the beach and strong tides capable of taking even the strongest adults away, there is no shame in asking for help if you are feeling nervous. Having multiple adults present is also going to come in handy when one kid has to go to the bathroom and the other wants to play in the ocean all day. After all, you can’t be everywhere at once!
As you begin to take your child to the beach more and more throughout the season, you will both become more comfortable and eventually find your groove. These tips are just a few of the important things to keep in mind to help your day go as smooth as possible. The most important thing is to be safe and have fun. While bringing kids to the beach does require some planning and preparation, the memories are well worth it!