All you need is a little bit of planning and you can find some time to relax at the beach.
Before children, a day at the beach meant tossing a few things in a bag, grabbing some friends (or going solo), a dip when you felt like it, catching up on all the latest goss in your magazine and napping with the crashing waves in the background.
Once you have children, beach visits are VERY different! There are umpteen bags; mum and dad carrying everyone’s boards, toys and towels; food and drinks to get through the visit and once you arrive on the sand, everyone’s shoes get tossed to you to carry as well.
But if you plan a bit differently, you can make it one of the best memory makers ever – and even get a little bit of down time in for yourself as well.
#1 Dig a huge hole together
The kids will try to dig to China, and then jump in it, sit in it, bury each other in it and make their own private pool.
#2 Check out the toilet options
If someone needs to go to the toilet in a rush, it will be easier to get there quickly if you know where you’re heading to straight away.
#3 Scavenger hunt
Make an age appropriate list before you go and don’t forget the extra bag or bucket to put your collection in.
#4 Take along a small inflatable pool
If you have young children, the waves tossing them around is always a stressful thought so why not see them safe by your side.
#5 Bring bathrobes
Yes, you read it right! Bathrobes are great for the beach. They keep kids warm and dry once they’ve finished playing in the water and they are a great protection from the sun.
Building sandcastles may keep toddlers entertained for ages, but if you have older kids, you may need to think about frisbees, kites, beach cricket or beach golf. For beach golf, all you will need is a tennis ball. Make a hole in the sand and get each person to roll the ball into the hole with the fewest rolls winning.
#7 Don’t forget the sunscreen
Don’t forget to pack sunscreen. But just as importantly, don’t forget to re-apply. There are some great spray on sunscreens available so that you are not worrying about rubbing the sand against sensitive skin.
#8 Did someone say snacks?
Plan for food and drinks that won’t spoil in the heat. Chips, nuts, muesli bars, biscuits, fruit and frozen water bottles that will thaw out during the day are great ideas.
#9 Natural art
Collect shells and other mementos to make into craft and art projects once you get home. Or take a scrapbook and pencils and get the kids to use the beach as inspiration for drawings.
#10 Pack a dustpan and brush
Well, just the brush, really. This is great for brushing sand off feet, legs and arms before you hop back in the car or walk back inside.
#11 Invest in a good sized beach towel
Perfect for having enough room for the snacks and water that you will want to have on hand.
#12 Take 3 for the Sea
Teach your kids about conservation and encourage them all to take 3 pieces of rubbish to save it from going in the sea.
#12 HAVE FUN
Don’t forget to go easy on yourself for the day. And enjoy the day whether it’s drizzly or sunny – memories can be made in all kinds of weather.