Sep 11, 2013

Tips For Visiting The Beach With Young Children

beach with young children or toddlers tips

I feel like I blinked and we have been thrust headfirst into spring, and a warm one at that.  I am not complaining though, I am absolutely loving this warm weather.  We took the opportunity this weekend to head to the beach - (and it was even warm enough to swim this time!).  As we are now headed towards summer I thought I would share some tips for visiting the beach with babies or toddlers.

Anyone that has gone to the beach with a baby or a toddler (or both) knows that it can be quite an ordeal, and if you're not careful you can end up looking like you've packed for a weeks vacation.  We are very blessed to live close to some beautiful beaches so we try to go as often as possible, and over the last few years we have managed to simplify the process somewhat.  Below is a few things that I have found have helped:

1.  Beach Shelters - yay or nay?

If you have a young baby that isn't crawling yet or needs naps, a beach shelter is very handy.  A small pop up variety that is easy to carry and set up is even better.

beach shelter
This is not the 'pop up' variety but was given to us and is quite easy to assemble.
In the above picture you can see we have quite a large beach shelter, the extra room really isn't necessary as once a baby is walking, under no circumstances will they stay in the shelter for more than a few minutes at a time so you may as well leave it at home (unless they will be napping while there).  Oh and in the above photo we were at the beach with a very large group of people - thankfully those bags aren't all ours!

Another option for a walking and napping toddler is taking a pram onto the beach, there are a lot of jogger prams that are suitable for sand, (one really handy tip is turn around and walk backwards, pulling it across the soft sand as they are just impossible to push normally but you would be amazed how easy they are to pull).  It really depends on the beach you are going to and the distance you will need to drag it, I wouldn't recommend having to pull a pram a long way down the beach.

Always remember to check your child regularly though as it can get quite hot in a shelter or pram in the sun and they will often miss out on the sea breeze you are feeling while standing up.

Once your toddlers can forgo their naps though, I really wouldn't bother taking a shelter, you will spend most of your time chasing them around and playing with them, it's just another bulky item to lug along.

2.  Pre-sunblock

Always get your child into their swimming costume and sunblock before you get on the sand.  It is extremely tiresome (for both you and child) trying to get sunscreen onto a squirmy sandy child.  Best of luck to you when you have to reapply though! ;)

3.  Use UV rash-shirts or costumes

You can save yourself some sunblock arguments by using rash shirts and costumes that cover more of your child's skin - it leaves less area to have to apply the sunblock.

4.  Limit beach toys

We take one small light bag of a few shovels and buckets and that's it.  I've slowly been learning that less is more when it comes to toys.

 beach toys

5.  Baby Powder

Baby powder works wonders for getting sticky sand off the skin.  Brush as much as you can off and use baby powder to get the more difficult bits off.  We always keep some in our beach bag.

6.  A large empty bottle always comes in handy

Pack a large empty plastic bottle, it comes in handy for those little emergencies like sand in the eyes or grazes (or even just helping to get the sand off when you need to reapply sunscreen). You can quickly fill it with some seawater and use and reuse (just don't get it confused with your drink bottle).
I learnt this after having to use our drink bottles for these types of emergencies and then being left with limited fresh water to drink for the rest of our day.

7.  Bring extra snacks and drinks

Sand, sunshine and salt water = very hungry and thirsty little (and big) people.

8.  Don't lay all your towels on the sand

Keep a towel or two in your beach bag, you might need a fresh towel (not one covered in sand) to sit or change a nappy on.

9.  Choose your beach wisely

With young children it is always more enjoyable if you choose a beach that has an area like a haven or rock pool without waves.  Young children love being able to wade in the water without the threat of being knocked over by a wave.

Keep in mind though, that children should never be unsupervised near the water, even when it is shallow.  A parent or guardian always needs to remain within safe reach.  Even children that are strong swimmers need to be supervised as the beach can be unpredictable.  Always swim and play within a flagged lifeguard area where possible. 

10.  Setting up (get front row seats).

I've found that as the children tend to want to spend most of their time by the water's edge, it comes in handy to leave our bags and towels close to where we will be playing (just far enough away that they won't get wet by a rogue wave).  You won't want to traipse back and forth up and down the beach every time you need something.  Keep everything handy.

I hope these tips help your beach outings with your young children run more smoothly!  Do you have any other tips you'd like to share? I'd love you to leave them in the comments below!

Now onto the link up:

I enjoyed all the fabulous posts that were linked up last week.  Today's feature is Lena from Root & Blossom who posted about Camping With A Baby.  Camping with little ones is definitely no small feat so I enjoyed her tips thoroughly!  Lena is incredibly sweet and I absolutely love her blog.  She also hosts a fun Mom-Lovin' linkup every Thursday too (button on my sidebar).  Head over and send her some love!

No rules, just link up your related post and don't forget to check out some others!