If a day at the beach with your children seems like more of a punishment than a nice, relaxing time, we get it. While you may see the beach as a place to unwind with a good book and get a tan while also maybe taking a little nap, your children see an adventure waiting to happen. Luckily, there are some ways to indulge both of these things. Don’t cancel your Jersey Shore plans just yet, because we have some tips for taming your tots — from toddlers to tweens!
It’s All About The Snacks
A little food goes a long way when it’s time to bribe your children into behaving. While ice cream makes for a powerful bargain, it’s best to leave the melty mess at home. Pinwheels are tasty, small enough for sandy hands to eat in a bite or two, and fun. The best part? The kids can even help you make them! PB&J on a whole wheat wrap or lavash is a safe choice, or you can opt for something a little more adventurous. Ham and cream cheese are a great combination if you plan on eating shortly after arriving to the beach or if you don’t mind taking a cooler along with you.
Trail mix is another beach staple. Though it’s easy enough to find at the store, making your own is so much more rewarding, and you can make sure everyone will be into it. Avoid chocolate, which can melt under the sun and make a big mess, and opt for dried fruit, nuts, and other crunchy ingredients like bagel chips or sesame sticks. Coconut is a beachy flavor that goes well in trail mix, especially with dried apricots and pistachios.
Keep The Bugs At Bay
Depending on which beach you frequent, you know that one wrong wind can bring hoards of bugs, which can ruin a day in the sand and sun, especially if you have little ones. Luckily, it takes only a few ingredients and less than five minutes to make a natural and kid-friendly bug spray right at home. You may need to stock up on your essential oil stash but aside from that, all it takes is vodka (or rubbing alcohol) and vinegar. Get the full directions here. To make the application of this bug spray a little more enjoyable for your child — especially on a hot day — keep it in your Thermador French Door Fridge so it will be nice and cool. Just remember to shake well before spraying!
Stay Out Of The Sun
Does anything ruin a vacation quite like sunburn can? Make sure to keep applying sunscreen whenever the kids go in and out of the water. Additionally, you may want to spring for a pop up shelter or a large umbrella. While it may be difficult to get the kids to stay put once you establish a shady spot, bucket hats are an easy and portable way to keep their faces out of the way of harmful UV rays. Pick up some plain white bucket hats and some fabric pens at the craft store for some craft time. The kids may be more likely to keep the hats on if they’re able to decorate them themselves.
If your family is full of early-risers, it may be best to hit the beach early and head home before the sun gets too high in the sky. Plus, if you arrive early enough, you can beat the crowds and get a great spot right by the water. (Just be sure to pay attention to the tides!) If your family is more the night owl-type, plan on getting to the beach a little later in the afternoon and staying until dusk. If you’re planning on staying after sunset, be sure to bring a flashlight along — not just for safety, but also so the kids can have fun catching ghost crabs.
Invest In A Beach Game
Though you may not want to carry one more thing, bringing a game along can give your family a few hours of fun, and the kids will definitely be tired by the end of the day. Go for a classic like Bocce or Horseshoes, or try something new like Kan Jam.
What do you think? Are you ready to brave a day in the surf and sand with the kiddos?