This year is my first real summer with my son. Last year he was only a few months old in the summer holidays, I was still recovering from my c-section and struggling far more with my postnatal anxiety. So the summer of 2017 was a bust for me, in 2018 though I’m all beach ready (well, my body definitely isn’t but at this point I don’t even care. Porthcawl isn’t exact Love Island!)
I’m a packer and a planner, so of course I made sure we had all the big things that you can think of when going for a day out at the beach:
- Bathing suit
- Flip Flops
- Bucket and Spade or other Beach toys
- Sun tent or umbrella, windbreaker
- A book for you (wishful thinking maybe!)
- A cool box to keep your drinks and snacks in
- More drinks and snacks
- Even MORE drinks and snacks
Now these are the things that before I was a parent I would never have thought to pack.
- Wet wipes – wipe those feet off after they’re sandy. And everywhere else too.
- Swim Nappies – even if they’re not going full swimming, swim nappies are waterproof and leakproof – the only thing is they don’t contain a lot, so make sure you switch out into regular nappies as soon as they’re out of the water. Keeping hydrated on a hot day means a LOT of nappy changes, so bring the whole kit and caboodle for that.
- Talcum powder (or baby powder) – this really works for getting the sand off everything.
- A paddling pool – now you might be thinking why do you need a paddling pool at the SEA? But I think some parents of babies are already nodding along… a paddling pool means the very young ones can be kept safe and close to you and the water is warmed by the sun a lot quicker as well. You can still fill it with some buckets of seawater (using your bucket and spade set of course). If you’ve got older ones as well, running to the sea and back to fill it is a great game to burn a bit of energy up at the start. Think of it is a mini-ocean.
- An empty bag for your rubbish – kids seem to manage to create a lot of rubbish. I end up with more rubbish than things I started with, which is one of the quantum mysteries of parenting. You don’t want to be running back and forth to the bin all day (unless that keeps the kids busy for a bit) so taking a trash bag will help you keep clean and organized.
- A flag – no, this isn’t about patriotism, although the Welsh flag IS awesome, but about finding you. If the beach is busy and you’ve got older kids who are allowed to run down to the water or get an ice cream without you, make sure they can easily find you again. Marking out your territory with something obvious creates an identifiable meeting point. Since my husband has absolutely no sense of direction and also seems half-blind when it comes to picking me out of a crowd, this may stand you in good stead for the adults too.
- A beach trolley – I’m serious, they make them for beaches, camping and festivals, so it’ll stand you in good stead for a variety of uses (you can even use it to get the shopping out of the car if you want). By now you’re looking at your packing list and realizing you’ve got way more than you can carry, even if you’re a 2 parent family. It’s just worth noting that it’s a drag operation on soft sand, and wheel on hard sand.
If you’re going on holiday abroad and know you won’t be able to take all this stuff with you, try to make sure that your hotel or self catering accommodation is as close to the beach as possible. If you’re a few minutes walk from home, then you can pop back and forth for things and have lunch and a nap indoors. If you’re driving to the beach like most of us here in the UK and plan to spend the day there, pack everything you can in the car!