If you are heading to the beach with your toddler these tips might just come in handy for you too.
The beach of choice was Sandycove. Right beside the Forty Foot. I had never been there until this year and loved it the last time we visited. We had a great day but a couple of things I did really made a big difference.
1. If you are taking public transport I would recommend utilising nap time. A hot sweaty bus or train is not a toddler's idea of fun. I left the house just as I knew my son was getting really tired. A nap was looming and we didn't have to walk very far before he was asleep in the pram. It made the bus and DART journey a lot smoother and I felt it relaxed me before the busy day ahead.
2. Bring change. This one seems so obvious and yet I never considered it. I failed to remember that an ice-cream van would be right beside the beach. I also forgot about the toilets at the beach. 50Cent a pop. I made my way to a shop and got change but it would have been a whole lot easier had I remembered initially.
3. Consider the toilet situation. Again another really obvious one. I stopped at a coffee shop for a quick take away latte when we got off the DART. I took this as a prime opportunity to use their toilet facilities. Little man had a fresh nappy and I had no fear of needing to go myself at the inconvenient time of beach fun. Little man would not have been impressed if I had to take him away from this exciting place.
4. Pack a picnic but try to avoid SANDwiches. What is it about beach picnics looking great when you leave the house but everything ending up with a crust of sand by the end of the day. Sometimes sandwiches are not the easiest option. This time round I brought cocktail sausages (easy to pour water over is sand comes their way), crackers, cheese, grapes and a cheeky packet of pre-cut mango from M&S. I'd recommend eating before your little one paddles in the water. Less hassle all round. My son would have been less inclined to sit down and eat once he had experienced the fun of the sea water. He was also quite cranky after all the activity. It was nice to be able to pack up and leave once we had our fun.
5. Go as early as possible. Another obvious one but worth mentioning. The later it gets the busier these places get. We were leaving at 4pm as the hoards of teenagers arrived. Good timing all round.
6. Bring a bucket and spade. We picked up one in the local pound shop the day before. The seaside had a colourful spread of buckets that did not belong to my son and he would have lost his mind if we didn't have one for him. Bringing our own cheap one meant I could avoid a) buying a ridiculously overpriced one off the vendor at the beach and b) my son wrestling another child for theirs.
7. Remember to put sun-cream on YOURSELF. I was so focused on covering my son in the stuff that I forgot to apply some on myself. I now resemble a lobster.
8. Plan dinner in advance before you go to the beach. Take something out of the freezer or pick up something handy to bang in the oven. There is something about beach days that leave very little motivation for doing anything when you get home that even. Cooking is particularly unappealing.
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