Staycation: My 10 tried and tested mum-hacks for better beach days with kids
I love the beach.
And don't get me wrong, pools are great too, but let's be honest, nothing really beats a day at the beach. Sandy toes, salty air and that amazing feeling of swimming in the sea – it is what summer is all about, and I want my children to feel that way too.
The thing is – a trip the beach can quickly go from the relaxing sound of gentle waves to the sound of your three-year-old howling because he just ate sand.
Such is parenting life.
However, having been on a fair share of beach trips with my children at many different destinations, I like to think that I have assemebled my fair share of sanity-saving beach hacks – all designed to make give you a break this summer, mama – because life really is a beach:
Sea breezes, sunshine, the gentle sound of waves—oh, yeah, and your toddler screaming because he just tried to eat sand.
1. Go early OR late
Yes, this means you might have to set your alarm on holidays just to get up before the rest of the resort, but trust me – it's worth it. Not only is the beach far more quite and beautiful in the morning hours (and you can throw back an iced latte on route, mama, if you are feeling a little tired), but by going before (or after) everyone else hits the beach, you are also avoiding the time of day when the UV rays are at their strongest.
2. Bring umbrellas and tents
You need to create plenty of shaded areas for play, rest, eating and even naps.
3. Bring frozen water
The night before your beach adventure, leave bottles of water in the freezer overnight. Bring these with you, and you can enjoy freezing cold water as these slowly melt.
4. Chairs are pointless
If you have young kids at the beach, you are not going to have the time to be lounging around in a chair, trust me.
5. Apply sunscreen at home
Not only is it far easier to keep your child standing still longer at the bathroom at home, you can also apply the cream when they are totally naked, and have time for it to dry before putting clothes on. Bonus: No more sand sticking to the cream and everybody being grumpy about it. Note: You will have to reapply sunscreen throughout the day, especially if your child gets in the water, but having that first base job done at home, it's a sanity saver.
6. Time the next application with your phone
Set an alarm for when it's time to reapply sunscreen again – both for yourself and the kids.
7. Hammam towels are your friend
You'll save so much space in your beach bag by bringing these thinner towels than trying to cram your regular bath towel in.
8. Bring a large picnic blanket (or two)
Just so you can create a large area where everyone can sit down in between swims, sandcastle building and digging for treasures.
9. Opt for sand-proof snacks
Squeezy yogurts are great, as granola bars that are easy to hold in the hand while you are eating. Grapes (cut in two) and blueberries are great too, as these can even be rinsed if they are dropped in the sand by accident. And make sure you bring more food than you think you need – my experience is that kids are extra hungry when outside.
10. Bring a baby pool
Especially if you are bringing a baby or really young children to be beach, who might not want to go for a dip in the sea. Use buckets to fill the baby pool with sea water, and watch them have tons of seaside fun– from within the comfort of their little pool.