My kids love the beach, but I often find myself thinking of the logistical nightmare of getting the whole crew out--and happy--in the sun all day. Sand, food, shade, sunscreen, waves, water, SHARKS (kidding. mostly.)--there is a lot for mom to think about. Here are some beach hacks to make your visit relaxing for you and enjoyable for everyone!
- Slather up before you get to the beach: My fair skin will be well on it’s way to a crisp if I wait to put my sunscreen on until after I complete my beach “mom duties”. So I don’t have to worry about it I put my sunscreen on BEFORE I get to the beach, either in the car or at home. If you can manage it, put sunscreen on the kids in the car as well. It helps when you can keep little ones strapped into something while you’re busy slathering up siblings. Plus, sunscreen is more effective if it has time to soak in for a few minutes.
- But, if you can’t sunscreen ahead of time, give the kids a snack to eat: I know it sounds counterproductive to get snacks out right when you get there, but stick with me here. Kids want to run, run, run to the water so they need a reason to stay put long enough for you to put sunscreen on. “Because it prevents skin cancer” is not compelling enough to a four-year-old, so give her a popsicle or some small treat that she has to finish BEFORE she goes to play. It gives you a window to slather and helps the sunscreen soak in. Win-win.
- Baby powder bombs: You’ve heard it before and it really works. Baby powder gets sticky sand off of feet, hands, arms, flip flops, beach toys, etc. Either directly apply to skin and rub (but can also be messy with white powder) or a good amount into the toe of a sock and tie it off with a tight rubber band. Then use the sock-baby-powder-bomb to scrub sand away--leaves your skin nice and soft too!
- Brightly colored swimwear and puddle jumpers: If you have more than one kid running around, dress your children in something visually easy to spot. Better yet, put every non-swimmer in a puddle jumper even if they are only playing in the sand. Life jackets are not a replacement for supervision, but they are helpful on busy beaches. Some beaches are incredibly crowded--help yourself avoid a few heart-pounding moments.
- Half-frozen water bottles and snacks: My and mine overheat FAST, so help preserve cool drinks and treat by freezing as much as you can. Freeze a ⅓ of a bottle of water on it’s side for a long-ish lasting cool drink. You can also freeze grapes, yogurt tubes, and berries for cool snacks. Helps preserve space in your cooler too. Try freezing bits of cantaloupe, golden melon, or honeydew--sweet and refreshing!
- Don’t forget the Maxi Pad or Diaper: What do maxi pads and diapers have in common? No one wants to touch them. Open a (clean) maxi pad to put cash, credit cards, or other small valuables and then re-fold it. Same idea for a (clean) diaper--open it and put your phone, wallet, keys, etc. then seal it back up.
- Put Your Phone in a Plastic Baggie: I don’t have to tell you that sand and water are not good for phones. But here is another trick--get the expensive baggie, not the cheapest kind. It is worth it!
Last--enjoy the moment! Sunshine and sand tend to bring out silly, memorable family fun!