Beach days before having a baby meant complete relaxation. Entire beach vacations were spent catching up on some reading while kicked back in a beach chair without a worry in the world and maybe even a drink in your hand to top it off. With a new little one in tow, planning a vacation in general is usually a much different story. It may not be quite as carefree as prior vacations, but it doesn’t have to be any less fun! Here are some tips on how to have an awesome beach day with your baby!
To nap, or not to nap?
If your baby usually naps during the time you’ll be at the beach and you’d rather skip the “I missed my usual naptime” meltdown, make sure you’re prepared! Come equipped with a pop-up tent and a “lovey” of some sort. Whether your little one prefers a blanket or their favorite stuffed animal, keeping the naptime routine as normal as possible will help them catch some z’s which makes everyone’s day a little easier. Just make sure whatever you bring can be washed once you get back to your vacation rental.
Setting up camp
Instead of bringing a single beach chair and a towel, it goes without saying that you’ll need a bit more equipment. To keep the sun and heat exposure to a minimum, the pop-up tent or shelter previously mentioned, an umbrella or two, and a large blanket or sheet should do the trick.
If you have older children who will be playing in the surf, it’s always a good idea to set up camp near a lifeguard stand for two reasons; one being the obvious reason that the lifeguard has a better line of view just in case there is an emergency, and two, once you’re in the water for a while, the current can carry you a little bit to the left or right of where you got in without you noticing. Being near the lifeguard stand makes it easier to be found just in case.
If you are travelling with very small babies or a lot of younger kids, it may be easier to head soundside instead of to the ocean. Jockey’s Ridge State Park has a sound access in Nags Head that’s perfect for families with lots of small kiddos. There aren’t waves like on the oceanside, so the water is calm and shallow, which makes it safer for them and can help put your nerves at ease.
Bring baby powder! This common household item holds a dual purpose on the beach. Instead of trying to wipe the sand off your baby or toddler’s skin (not a great feeling and not very effective), let the water dry off your kiddos skin and sprinkle a liberal amount of baby powder on the sand. The powder will soak up most of the remaining water making it much easier to wipe the sand off.
Unless you enjoy vacuuming copious amounts of sand from your car’s seats and carpets, keep a soft-bristled broom on hand to wipe down chairs, coolers, and feet that collected sand during your beach day.
Bring a change of dry clothes (underwear included) for young children, as well as plastic bags to contain the leftover sand and water from their beach clothes. Use the baby powder trick to get rid of any sand still clung to their skin before getting them dressed. They’ll be much more comfortable which is a win for everyone. Just be sure to bring plastic bags to put wet clothes in.
If you don’t plan on packing everything up and leaving around lunchtime, you could bring a packed lunch. Bring different snacks and sandwiches in individual containers and fill up a cooler. You can save the hassle of ice packs by freezing water bottles that can be drank as they thaw or frozen grapes as a snack. Good options to bring are fruit snacks, pre-cut veggies, chips, yogurt sticks or melts, baby puffs and finger sandwiches.
If your little one is having way too much fun, it can be hard to corral them and pack up all at once, especially if you’re trying to avoid any tantrums and tears. Giving them advanced notice and allowing time for finally splashes in the waves and sandcastles may make it easier for them to leave happily. Also, if there is another adult who can occupy the kiddos during this time, having everything packed up and ready to go is much easier than trying to occupy them and pack at the same time. If they’re having a particular hard time leaving their new sandy playground, remind them that you’ll be back tomorrow!
While all the preparing and planning isn’t the most fun, with these tips you’ll be able to have a more enjoyable beach day with all the fun and none of the stress. Don’t forget to let them get covered in sand, splash in the waves, and just take it all in because after all, they’re only little once!