Summer is just around the corner, and with the warmer weather comes trips to the beach. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy your time at the beach more thouroughly:
1. Keep Your Skin Safe
It’s a hard balance – we go to the beach to enjoy the warmth of the sun and get away from the daily grind of homelife rules and routines. Yet if you don’t keep on your kids about sunscreen and covering up, you are asking for trouble. No one enjoys themselves when they are as red as a lobster!
I’m not going to lie – kids in general don’t like to have to have lotion put on at the beach. They’d rather be building sandcastles or rolling in the waves. But you owe it to them to keep them protected. The US EPA has a calculator to help you know the UV forecast for your area. Once you enter your zipcode, it will give you the recommended sunscreen protection needed for the day.
2. Organize Your Stuff
I used to find myself getting stressed out about an upcoming beach trip. There were so many things to keep track of – towels, chairs, toys, diaper bag, snacks – UGH! Put keeping an eye on the children from the parking lot to the beach, and there’s a lot of pressure.
I’ve now come to appreciate the simplicity of beach wagons. They help you to get all of your stuff from point A to the beach. You can pack all your supplies and kids into the wagon, and drag it down to the sand. Foldable ones are nice for storage. The best beach wagons for when you have kids are talked about in this article – it helped me make a choice. Hopefully you’ll find it helpful as well.
3. Go Over Water Safety
Kids need to be told the do’s and don’ts about beach safety. In general, you want to make sure that:
- Always practice the buddy system – no child goes in the water alone. There should be an older child or adult close by at all times to make sure they can get help if needed.
- Follow the “Knee or Lower” rule of thumb. Toddlers and smaller children should only go into water that reaches their knees. If it’s higher, it’s too easy to have a big wave come along and knock them off their feet. There’s still plenty of fun to be had splashing around or playing with toys in a foot or so of the ocean.
- Toys can be replaced – Especially with smaller children, there’s the desire to chase after water toys that are floating out to sea. Your child doesn’t want to upset you, and normally losing a toy isn’t an activity we reward. Make sure they know it’s ok if something does happen to get picked up by the tide – that they can come to you to help rescue the toy. No bit of plastic is worth as much as your child’s safety.
These are only a few quick tips. If you’d like more ideas, here are some resources I found:
- The Red Cross has a great guide to beach safety.
- The United States Lifesaving association has a Top Ten list for you to keep in mind.
- FractusLearning has a guide to summer beach safety.
- Aloha Beach and Surf Camp has a handy pdf you can print out.
- Here’s some ideas for keeping your “other” children safe at the beach as well.
I hope these ideas are helpful. If you have any additional tips or trips, please leave them in the comments below!