During the summer, many families head to the beach to seek relaxation and to have some fun in the sun. For many of us, a lot of our childhood memories from summertime take place at the beach. While bringing your toddler to the beach will certainly give him or her plenty of lifelong memories, as a parent, you must be ready to face new challenges to keep your child happy all day long. If you take into consideration the following tips and suggestions, you and your toddler will undoubtedly have a wonderful beach experience, and you will lay the foundation for building ongoing beach memories for plenty of years to come.
1. Bring Appropriate Sunscreen
Young children have especially sensitive skin and can be prone to sunburning quickly at the beach. Make sure to buy a high-quality, 50-70 SPF sunscreen, and apply it liberally at least 15 minutes before your arrival to the beach. Be sure to reapply sunscreen every hour or anytime your child dries off after going into the water. Also, do not forget a good pair of UV-protection sunglasses for your child and a hat or head covering. You do not want to return home with an achy, uncomfortably sunburnt child. When you return home from the beach, it can be helpful to apply an effective aftersun lotion on your child’s skin to soothe any minor irritation and keep you child’s skin soft and hydrated.
2. Provide Shade
While a beach umbrella can be great to give shade for adults, your toddler might prefer something even more private and protective at the beach. Purchasing a small tent will offer an adequate hideaway for your child when he or she is feeling particularly hot and needs to escape from the sun. Beach tents can also be great private places for changing your child or setting your toddler down for a nap.
3. Have Plenty of Snacks and Water
Chances are that if you have spent so much time planning for your beach trip, purchasing supplies, and finding the perfect spot to get situated, you are going to be at the beach for a while. Make sure to bring a cooler with easy to eat snacks to keep your toddler from getting hungry. Have plenty of water available or even your toddler’s favorite juice to help him or her stay hydrated. Ensure that your toddler takes a break to hydrate once every hour or after doing anything physically intensive. Though your cooler may suffice, having some extra cash on hand for when the ice cream man passes by can also provide your child with an additional frozen treat.
4. Offer Varied Activities
It can be helpful for your child to bring a toy to the beach, but make sure it’s a proper choice for the venue. Plastic is going to be easier to clean after a day at the beach than a teddy bear. In addition to a personal object of choice, provide your child with enough variety for different beach activities. A shovel and bucket kit can be great for digging holes and building sandcastles, and a beach ball can be great to toss or kick around. For older toddlers, even a kite can give entertainment, as you can help teach him or her to fly it and be mesmerized watching it soar through the sky.
5. Play in the Sand
Unless your child is obsessed with cleanliness, chances are he or she is going to want to play in the sand. For a lot of small children, playing in the sand means getting covered in it from head to toe. Allow your child to dig, build sandcastles, and get messy and explore. However, try your best to clean off the sand after an especially immersive play session. Sand can get stuck in all sorts of body crevices and cause chafing and other irritation. Small personal wipes can be great for removing sand from uncomfortable nooks and crannies.
6. Go in the Water
Your child may not be old enough to swim on his own, but he or she will probably be curious enough to want to play near the water. Allow your child to get comfortable with the temperature of the water and the movement of the waves. Also, hold his or her and, and try to keep the depth below his or her knees. Stronger waves and currents can spring up at anytime, and you do not want him or her to get knocked over. Give your child some time to splash around in the tiny waves. You can also bring a beach chair close to the water’s edge and sit with your child as he digs a hole or makes compacted sandcastles as the waves roll in.
7. Create a Shower Liner Gully
If your child is terrified of the big waves of the ocean, another strategy to get them comfortable with ocean water is to build an artificial gully. An inexpensive vinyl shower liner can be purchased to build a small pool for your child to play in. Dig a hole large enough to accommodate a shallow splashing pool. Use the liner to cover the base of the hole and cover the edges with sand to hold it down. You can then use buckets to fill your artificial pool with ocean water. Your child will love having his or her own private oasis at the beach.
8. Search for Seashells
After building sandcastles, playing with toys, and splashing around in the water, your child might start to feel a bit bored. This would be a great opportunity to teach your child the art of collecting seashells. Take a short walk with your child along the water and carry a bucket with you. Encourage your child to find as many different kinds of seashells possible. At the end of the day, allow your child to pick one to take home as a souvenir.
9. Include Naptime
During a long day at the beach, it’s likely that your toddler will need time for a nap or even two. Try to do your best to stick to your toddler’s regular napping schedule, and offer him or her with a comfortable place to rest in the shade. Once again, a beach tent would be ideal for this purpose. Your child may get fussy and not want to nap with so many stimulating things happening around him, but he will have much more energy throughout the day if provided a break to get some shuteye.
10. Use a Wagon for Transport
All of the supplies necessary for a family trip to the beach can rival those of a traveling circus. Because of this, you are going to need an easy way to transport these materials. Try your best to fit as much as you can into backpacks for easy transport. However, it’s likely that you will need some additional help in carrying your items to and from the beach. A beach wagon is the perfect investment for stress-free transport of all of your belongings.
Surely, your trip to the beach will be a rewarding experience for both you and your toddler. If you take into account these accommodations and suggestions, you and your toddler will be happy all day long and looking forward to the next beach day in your summer schedule.