10 Tips For An Effortless Family Trip To The Beach Or Pool
Summer down here in Australia is well and truly hotting up, with some whopping temperatures already recorded – and it’s only mid December!
For those of us that have grown up here, the beach or the local pool is pretty standard on days like this. We all have fond memories of easily slinging a towel over one shoulder and heading out for a refreshing splash – no bags or paraphernalia required.
Then you become a parent – and nothing about the beach or pool seems easy anymore. There are rash vests, 3 types of sunscreen, hats (where are all the hats!?), millions of beach towels, pool-approved swimmers, snacks (so many snacks), beach mats, tents and sunshades, toys, prams, nappy bags… oh the bags, my god, how much stuff do these kids need!? Perhaps staying home with air con is a better idea?
Here are some tips for an effortless family trip to the beach or pool – genuinely simplifying your beach/pool experience so that it doesn’t snowball into a horrendous experience, with everyone being shuffled back into the car.
1. Pack bags the night before
This is where it begins. We generally know when that heat blast is coming, so pack the beach bags the night before. I generally have one ready and packed throughout summer – hanging in the laundry for a quick grab and go. There’s nothing worse than trying to pack a bag with a toddler hanging off your leg. Then said toddler has a tantrum because mum isn’t paying attention, and that trip to the pool/beach seems impossible.
2. Keep all pool/beach gear in one spot
Rather than rummaging in multiple drawers when you’re heading to the beach – store the entire family’s beach/pool gear in one spot (a drawer or box). Chances are you’re heading to the beach/pool together 99% of the time, so it makes sense that all these items are in one spot – swimmers, sunglasses, hats, rash vests, towels, sunscreen etc.
3. Get the kids dressed before you go
Yes, it takes what seems like hours to get that rash vest on, but it will save you chasing them around the pool yard or changeroom once you get there. Kids have no concept of ‘wait’, especially once they’ve spotted that water. This includes applying all sunscreen and putting on hats. Have them ready to jump straight in.
4. Call in reinforcements
If at all possible, don’t do this alone – especially with multiple kids! Try and plan trips when your other half, a grandparent or a friend are available. If not for your sanity, it is much safer to have one set of eyes on one child at all times. Multiple kids makes it tricky.
5. Use food as bait
If you need to reapply sunscreen, you will need snacks to lure the kids back from the water. Use the time wisely whilst they snack, as they’ll be off again in a shot. If you need to buy snacks, have change in a separate purse so you’re not fumbling through the beach bag and whipping out your whole wallet for all to see.
6. Quick nappy changes
If you’re needing to change nappies, here’s how to do the quickest possible turn around. Pack one clean nappy in one plastic bag (pack multiple sets of this if you’re out for the day). Then you just need to take this one bag to the changeroom, whip off the wet nappy, stick on the clean one, stick the wet one in the bag. Done! No need to take the whole beach bag, digging around for a nappy then wandering what to do with the wet one in your hand whilst struggling to hold baby.
7. Use family changerooms
Most pools these days have family changerooms – these are amazing, especially for the myriad of dads taking their kids to the pool these days. Mens change rooms are not pleasant for kids! Make use of this fabulous facility.
8. Leave them in their swimmers
If they’ve already dried off, leave them in their swimmers and change them when you get home. If your car seats are on their way out and you don’t mind them getting a little wet – they’ll dry so quickly in the heat anyway – just get them in and deal with it at home.
9. Forget about getting yourself dressed
You’re dreaming, right!? If you think you’ll be getting changed afterwards, you can forget about it. A day at the pool or beach makes for tired and hungry kids, so you want to get out of there at the first sign of tantrum-ville. Take along a loose dress, sarong or shorts that you can just whip on afterwards and get out of there as quick as possible.
10. Try and see the funny side
What seemed like such a brilliant idea may have turned into a nightmare but remember how precious these moments are with your kids. As ridiculous and frustrating as a trip to the beach/pool may be, try and see the funny side and enjoy the look of pure joy on your child’s face – you are making magical memories for them.
What are your top tips for an effortless family trip to the beach or pool? Leave us a comment below.