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Making the best of days at the beach

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Fun in the sun and sand

Some people are fortunate enough to live by the beach and others travel to hang by the oceanside over the summer. Either way, families love to make the best of their days spent making sandcastles and taking dips in the pacific. It's a place of fun, a place of quiet reflection, a place to respect the awesome power of nature and everything in between.

Family at the Beach


 

Planning a beach day

We have a few tips and tricks up our sleeve to make the days nights spent by the beach more enjoyable. First, as with so many things in life, plan ahead. Pack carefully and conservatively. You probably don't need four magazines and two books, but you do need sufficient sunscreen, towels and a good hat.

Before you even leave for the beach, make sure everyone wears their coverups and swimwear and have applied the first round of sunscreen. A smaller bag with a change of clothes and a spare dry (and un-sandy) towel remains in the car if you need to be somewhere other than home after the beach.

Pack the following beach essentials

  • Towels – one per person
  • Hats – one per person
  • Gallon recloseable bag with sunscreen, bug spray, lip balm, hand sanitizer and any other non-edible potentially liquid item.
  • Gallon recloseable bag in which to store cell phones, wallets, keys, a camera, and a novel.
  • Spare waters

Munchies, check!

Do have an insulated bag (with a cold pack) in which you pack lunches and/or snacks. Don't choose things that can get questionable,go bad or get too messy. Anything with mayonnaise is definitely out. Have some fruit, sandwiches, corn or potato chips, juice boxes and waters. Also, bring plenty of napkins and a plastic grocery bag to tote out garbage. Be judicious with what you choose. We can always stop for ice cream on the way home, and that offer often gets my kids through a half hour or more of muchies.

Make time to relax

It seems slightly counterintuitive to plan for a relaxing day at the beach, but being ready allows me to relax as much as I can. Being as careful on our way off the beach as our way onto the beach keeps us all comfortable and happy.

Don't bring extra baggage

Bring beach chairs that have carrying straps. Between the bag with the towels, the bag with the food and the beach chairs, you want to be able to carry your belonging effectively. The kids can help carry, but by the end of the day everyone will be tired and cranky so sometimes being able to get carry everyting to the car yourself expediently is a bonus. As for the beach toys, make that the kids' responsibility. 

Put the beach toys to good use

Make sure there is an extra beach pail you can dedicate to being a pail of water that you keep near your beach site. Being able to rinse one's hands prior to getting into the grapes is added bonus on beach outings.

Set boundaries

Before too much play, we establish some ground rules. Depending on the tide, I determine how comfortable I am with how far out in the water the kids play. Our beach is pretty shallow, so they can go pretty far out, especially at low tide, and there are lifeguards, but still.

Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen

When you arrive at the beach, we choose our location and set up. No one goes to the water until everything is set. Everyone wears their hats. Period. Apply more sunscreen, just to be sure you have every bit of ear, nose and shoulder.Every hour or so, I call the kids over, dry them off, and apply more sunscreen. I remind them to keep hats on, to remember ground rules.

Keeping the sand at the beach

Now here come the real secrets to beach trips: the clean-ups. Once our day is over and we trek back to the car, we spend extra minutes cleaning up before driving away. We shake out the towels, the beach toys, the chairs. This time also gets our bodies just a little drier for the next phase of human clean up. I Stay determined to keep as much sand as possible out of your car, off our bodies and away from my wood floors and plumbing.

Baby powder is my "secret" for keeping sand at the beach. Even though I never once used baby powder on a baby's bum, I use it all the time to get the sand off legs and feet and out from between toes. Shake some powder in your hand then gently rub that hand over sandy feet. The powder dried the skin reduces the surface tension that causes the sand to adhere to moist skin.


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