Beaches and babies…. do they mix? Sammi-Jo Brook has some great bits of advice to survive the sun, sea and sand with a toddler and a baby in tow.
Preparation is key
Before you set off make sure that the car is empty of all smelly old gym bags, discarded fruit shoot bottles and shopping bags. You are going to need all the space you can get. Remember that when you approach the task of packing up the car that it is a game of car Tetris. As long as it fits, then it doesn’t matter whether it is upside down or on its side, just get it in!
Think about when you want to get there. Early mornings at the beach can be perfect, and even though it means you will have to be packed up the night before you can ensure you have a long day and you can pick a perfect spot before it gets busy. That way you can avoid that intense midday sun in some shade and the kids will probably get in a nap or two whilst your there.
Snacks and drinks are always high on the agenda. As soon as you have children, your life will revolve around eating times, so make sure that you have plenty of food. Then some more. The night before pop a few bottles of water in the freezer and keep them in your cooler bag, not only do they act as ice packs but will offer cold drinks throughout the day. No one likes a warm water and sandwich on a hot day!
By far the most revolutionary beach hack that I have been told as a parent is that baby talc gets sand off. I kid you not, sprinkle the white magic powder onto those sandy legs and it will work its magic instantly. It doesn’t help the age old problem of sandy sandwiches though, so don’t go adding it to them!
Don’t forget to put in an additional sandwich bag when you are making them, and use it as a waterproof cover for your phone. You can guarantee that you or your partner will forget half way to the sea, or indeed whilst you are already in the sea, that you have your phone in your hand or pocket. If you pop it in one at the beginning of the day then you can relax about your phone becoming aquatic at any point.
A very large picnic mat or a double bed sheet is far better than towels on the sand. You can find some amazing extra-large mats online which have peg holes in the corners which are worth their weight in gold. Another key piece of kit is a pop up tent with UV protection for those naps and breaks from the sun.
Even though the whole point of the beach day is to get some sun, don’t forget the sun protection. Slather the sun lotion on thick, every couple of hours unless you want burnt little chicks and don’t forget those sunhats. Put it on before you get to the beach to avoid the dreaded lotion/sand inevitable mix for as long as possible!
At some stage they will need the toilet, so make sure that you have plenty of nappies. Older ones, take a potty, and then open up a nappy and place it in to soak it up! Or you can find a foldable travel potty, they are pretty handy to just keep in the boot but for goodness sake do not forget to clean it out. No one will appreciate that smell after a hot day.
Take a purse full of pennies. The kids will require their ice cream fix at least once and the coppers can be played with as buried treasure. Trust me, burying pennies and letting them be pirates will buy you a good 15 minutes of peace.
Above all enjoy it.
It is inevitable that you will have some moments of stress, probably when one of the kids will not stop eating sand and they refuse to keep their sun hat on. It is easy to forget that the times spent at the beach, will probably be some of those that you remember when you are old and grey sat in your rocking chair. So hold on to those moments, and with the rain probably ready and waiting to catch you out as you head home just take a moment to breathe and enjoy. Who knows when a nice day will come round again!