Planning a trip to the beach this summer?
Remember the days when you’d put on a cute bikini, throw a towel into a bag, and head out to the beach for a relaxing day of fun in the sun? Well, cherish that memory because, once you have kids, those days are gone.
As any parent knows, planning a successful day at the beach with young children is a feat of epic proportions. But it isn’t impossible, particularly with the right preparation and products. Before your next beach outing this summer, check out our “hot” tips and suggestions for making your day at the beach a breeze:
Get rolling. When you’ve got kids, you’ve got gear. A beach caddy or beach cart can make getting all of your gear to the beach much easier. These carriers typically collapse for easy storage in the trunk and at home on off season. They also are made from durable materials that can be easily wiped down. This summer, do your back a favor and get yourself carrier to help you get all your stuff to the beach.
Create a shady spot for you and your kids. We’ve become a lot more sun-smart over the past decade. Most moms know to apply protective sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. For it to be the most effective, sunscreen should be applied 15-30 minutes before sun exposure and should be reapplied every 2 hours throughout the day, and more frequently if you’re spending time in the water.
You can also minimize sun damage by encouraging your child to seek shade under the beach umbrella when the sun is at its strongest (usually 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.). Keep your family’s umbrella from blowing away with the Noblo Umbrella Buddy. The Noblo easily attaches with a velcro strap to all umbrellas and, when not in use, it empties and folds flat to fit into a small carrying bag. Make your umbrella easily identifiable on a crowded beach by using Umbrellishments — fun baubles and bling specifically designed for umbrellas. These fun trinkets are sold in sets and can add some glitz to an otherwise utilitarian item.
UV rays, however, don’t just come from above; they also reflect off sand, water, and even concrete. The ez-shade portable sunshield attaches to the beach umbrella you already own. It’s special design diminishes the sun’s reflective rays. It also blocks wind and sand, which can be key when you’ve got young kids.
Consider UV protective clothing. Sunscreen and shade are great, but consider the added benefit of sunscreen protective swimwear. SwimZip makes super fashionable and fun, UPF 50+ protective sun wear for babies, kids and adults. Not only do their rash guard shirts provide excellent protection from the harsh rays of the sun, they also feature a signature full zipper down the front which makes them easy to put on and take off.
Give everyone their own towel. No one wants to sit on the “sandy towel”, the “dirty towel”, or the “wet one”. Consider bringing a specific towel – a different color, pattern, or design – for each child so that everyone knows which towel belongs to him or her. You also might consider a custom-order, personalized towel, such as those offered by Adorable banner Co.. These towels are available in both traditional and quick-dry fabric and can be personalized with long-lasting, sewn on letters available in plenty of bright and colorful options.
Keep hydrated. Make sure that your kids drink plenty of water. Consider filling and freezing some of your water bottles overnight. When tossed into your cooler the next morning, these bottles will help to keep food fresh. Later in the day as they defrost, these bottles also will satisfy your child’s desire for a cold drink. Frozen juice pops work the same way, turning into a fun, slushly treat by the afternoon. Kooleez freezer pop insulators not only will help to keep your ice pops frozen in transit, they also will keep your kid’s fingers from freezing.
Pack a healthy lunch. A long day at the beach can make your kids cranky if they end up feeling hungry. And more often than not, the beach concession stand is full of greasy and sugary snacks, so make sure to bring plenty of healthy alternatives that your kids will love. Whole fruits, such as bananas, grapes, apples, and peaches, are easy to handle at the beach and pack well. You also might consider packing an individual lunch container for each member of your family. Easy Lunch Boxes are bento-style, plastic lunch containers with three compartments. They can be toted in their own insulated bags or stacked into a larger, family cooler for individualized, healthy lunches for your whole family.
Keep your child entertained. While you might have enjoyed reading a book and lounging by the seaside in your life before kids, I can assure you that your toddler will not feel the same. Make sure to bring plenty of beach toys to keep your child entertained. Bogg bags make the perfect beach tote for all of your child’s shovels and beach toys. These sturdy bags are large enough to carry it all and easily wash down with a hose or in the beach shower at the end of the day. If your child is a seashell collector, consider the Hello Beach treasure bag. These mesh bags are perfect for exploring coastal shores and for collecting shells, rocks, and other treasures. The bag’s unique mesh bottom allows for the sand to sift out and the bag can be easily rinsed in the ocean.
Don’t forget yourself! Perhaps your Gidget days are gone, but you can still look fashionable and cute while you’re chasing your kids around at the beach. Simple Sarongs are the perfect marriage of a sarong and a beach towel. These fashionable cover ups are versatile (like a traditional sarong, they can be worn at the hips, waist, or chest) but, with the addition of a button and buttonhole, will also stay put. If you’re like me and live in flip flops over the summer (the perfect shoe for the beach), you also might want to consider Accesory Connectz – a clever invention that allows you to easily decorate your flip flops with a variety of fun and fashionable, interchangeable accessories.
Don’t take the beach home with you when it’s time to leave. There is nothing worse than driving home still covered in sand, so wash up before you get back in the car. Sand Gone is a talc-free, dry body powder that instantly removes sand from your body with the swipe of a super-soft applicator. Unlike wiping your child down with a towel, Sand Gone won’t scratch or cause tears because sand easily falls away.
Keep your kids safe in the parking lot. Because you’ve got lots of gear, it will take some time to repack the car at the end of the day. Keep your kids safely by your vehicle in the busy beach parking by using the Parking Pal Magnet – a colorful magnet for the side of your car with an image of a palm onto which your children put their hand. The Parking Pal gives your child a safe place to stand so that you can use both your hands to pack up and go.
Photo by Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, courtesy of flickr.com