Whether you are travelling to Bali, Benidorm or Bognor this summer, the chances are that you will hit the beach at some point. A day at the seaside is a staple of summer holidays, but it can also be stressful for parents who have to constantly be on high alert for any of the myriad hazards that can befall the kids.
Al has already written a great piece about surviving the beach with a baby, so let’s look at what we can do to ensure a happy day at the beach with the kids this summer, from toddlers upwards!
You’ve negotiated the plane, train, bus or car journey, you’ve settled into your accommodation, now let’s get out onto the sand:
It may seem odd when you are planning a day in the sun, but make sure you pack plenty of layers of clothes. With children dipping in and out of the water, they may well feel cold once they return to your base, whatever the air temperature. In addition, although it could reach the high twenties at the peak of the day, it only takes a little cloud cover or a light breeze to cause a chill. Mornings and evenings are often a lot cooler, too.
Add to that the fact you might wander off to an air-conditioned cafe for an ice cream, and you can see why having a selection of easy to put on and take off layers, like t-shirts and hoodies, is a good idea to help your kids regulate their body temperature and feel more comfortable.
Kids need to snack, particularly if they are using up a huge amount of energy and sweating in the sunshine. There are a number of healthy options that taste great, replace those used-up electrolytes that you lose through perspiration and, importantly, offer some protection from the sand.
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Only some, of course, it’s not a beach snack if you don’t experience that strange gritty feeling between your teeth at least a little.
Bananas perform all these tasks, with the skin providing a barrier for the sand right up until the last possible minute before eating. Watermelon has similar properties, but that does require you to take a big knife to the beach. An alternative is to measure out portions of watermelon, nuts, raisins or whatever your kids like beforehand, and seal them in ziplock bags.
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You absolutely must take water when you go to the beach with kids. Hydration is so important in the warm weather, especially if they are going to be running around, swimming and playing. Without taking in adequate water they can suffer cramps, fatigue and heat stroke. Even if they say they are not thirsty, you need to make them take regular breaks to rehydrate to avoid any issues later in the day.
Shade and Sun Cream
Sunburn is to be avoided whatever your age, but particularly for children. You should make sure there is somewhere shaded that they can retreat to on the beach when they come back from playing. This could be a beach umbrella, or a couple of umbrellas next to each other, but even better is one of those mini pop-up tents which are even more protective.
In addition, when your other half is on child-monitoring duties, you can nip in there and have a sleep yourself.
Sun cream is another essential for a happy day at the beach with kids.
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Make sure you use a suitable factor for their sensitive skin and that it is constantly reapplied during the day, particularly after they go in the water. It is also worth testing the sun cream on them before you go away to ensure that it doesn’t irritate them. If it does, then you can seek out a brand that doesn’t before you jet off and have to pay extortionate holiday prices for a replacement.
It may seem obvious, but it is really important to keep an eye on your children on the beach. They are busy places and it is easy for them to get lost, to get into trouble in the sea, to veer too close to the rocks and all manner of other hazards.
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No matter their age or how sensible they are in day-to-day life, the beach can be dangerous as much as it can be fun.
More Ways to Ensure a Happy Day at the Beach With The Kids
Do you have any other top tips for making it a glorious day at the beach with the kids? Let us know the the Comments section.