Sun lotion, sunglasses and a beach towel; that’s pretty much all we used to need for a trip to the beach pre-kids. However, since having children that list has definitely gotten a LOT longer.
In fact, if you’re to have a successful visit, you’ll need to start planning and prepping what you need to bring a few days before you go. If you’re stumped about how to make sure your outing to the beach is a success, here are some tips.
Decide whether to bother bringing a buggy
If you have a baby or toddler, you wouldn’t even consider going on a day trip without a buggy. However, the beach is a bit different. It is virtually impossible to push a pram through sand (especially if you have heavy bags hanging off it) and if you bring one, you’ll probably end up needing to carry it. Some beaches have a boardwalk which is the ideal solution, and three-wheelers or all-terrain buggies will cope better, but if neither of these are at your disposal you should definitely think about alternative options such as a baby carrier.
Pack everything the night before
Packing always takes much longer than you think. While you might have planned to throw everything in the bag after breakfast, no doubt your kids will have other ideas. If you’d like to avoid having everything you put in the bag emptied out again, and want to save the sandwiches for the beach rather than having them nibbled on the minute you pack them, why not prep everything the night before when the rascals are tucked up in bed.
Apply suncream before you leave
Suncream has certainly got a lot easier to apply compared to when we were young. But, there’s still no easy way to get it on once you’re all on the sand. Make sure everyone is covered before you head off and you can hit the ‘sand’ running once you arrive. Of course, you need to bring some to reapply later but at least they’ll be worn out by then and less likely to try and run away.
Bring plenty of towels
If it’s a warm day then chances are the kids will want to try out the water. Of course, that means extra stuff (especially if you’ve got a long journey home). You’ll therefore need a towel for each child; a change of clothes; and a bag (such as a compostable bin bag) for throwing all the wet, sandy outfits into.
Hats, sunglasses and UV suits are super important
It seems obvious, but make sure each child has their sun protection gear: a hat, sunglasses and a UV swimsuit. You may also need swim nappies if you think your baby will want to experience the water too. Avoid the mad dash trying to find everything and get them to help you hunt for it all before your trip. I always get my boys to try their UV suits on again if they haven’t been worn in a while to check they’re not too tight.
Everyone will appreciate it if you bring a cooler bag
While a cooler bag isn’t a necessity, it will definitely make your trip more enjoyable. Everyone will appreciate some cold water on a hot day! It will also save you running to the shop every time someone gets hungry. Pack up a picnic with everyone’s favourite food and make your fellow beachgoers green with envy.
Opt for a beach tent
If you have a baby that will need a nap while you’re there (and you decide against bringing a buggy) a beach tent is the best way to allow them to sleep while the rest of you are enjoying the sun. They also serve as a handy place to change a child’s nappy. Or the young kids can sit in while they’re enjoying a drink and a snack.
Don’t forget their toys!
Would you believe that the last time we went to the beach we remembered all the necessities and forgot to bring any toys for the sand…? My son was actually delighted because he was allowed to buy a new bucket, spade and toys. But this could be an expensive mistake if you’ve got a few children. Get them to raid the sandpit or sand and water table and pack a few toys for making sandcastles and shapes.
The great news is you don’t need to worry about bringing a book, a magazine or headphones - because there’s absolutely zero chance you’ll get to use them!