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To the beach!

Summer is chasing away our Spring rains here in Cape Town. The sun is out and people have started heading to the beach.

The lure of the white sand and blue seas, the far call of a gull is all too much for us over-stressed and desperate parents.

AND SO we head to the beach ….

I have done this trip all to often, with varying degrees of success, with my three children.

Here are a few tips I have gathered along the way:

  1. BOTTLE OF WATER – Fill a 2l bottle of tap water and leave in the car for the duration of beach day. (N.B. I’ll tell you why later.)
  2. NO BOOKS or KINDLES – Don’t expect to read….anything…at all, except maybe how frequently to re-apply the sunscreen.
    You will find you will not sit down at all and if the kids aren’t at your feet, you will be constantly scanning the shore line or jumping your squealing bundle of joy over the dwindling white water.
  3. PHONE and KEYS – One of us has to risk bringing their phone, for photos and posting to facebook, so put it into a ziplock bag to keep the sand out. Put keys in a dedicated safe and sealed spot, preferably tethered to something else! I have looked late into the night, with cold unhappy kids, for car keys that got buried beneath a tag rugby game!
  4. SUNSCREEN and TALCUM POWDER – re-apply the sunscreen, as often as, if not more often, than the container says. It is hot! And water and wind will wash that protective layer away! Talcum powder is my beach bag staple. One child will get a rash at some point (probably because you left that nappy on for way too long!) and the powder will ease their and your pain. AND it is also a great way of removing sticky sand. Apply to sandy spots and rub and the sand comes away like a dream.
  5. BUCKETS, SPADES and all the “gedoente” – put all this in a dedicated ‘wet’ bag. At the end of the day packing up is tiresome. These items need to be chucked in and dealt with later. Wet cossies can go in buckets, buckets go in ‘wet’ bag, bag in boot. Done!
  6. SNACKS and DRINKS – Feed them before the melt down. Take lots of food in small containers. There’s nothing worse than sandy, wet hands in your bread roll container or chip packet. Kids are always hungry, the shops usually sell junk at high prices (but there’s always room for an ice cream!). As for drinks, fill your bottles 1/4 way with water and freeze overnight. This will keep your water or juice nice and cold for at least 2-3 hours.
  7. FLAG your SPOT – I admit my kids are older now, so they do go off by themselves and wonder back, hence my eyes in the back of my head. I have taken to giving them a landmark so that they can find us again. It should preferably be a permanent reference point because the BIG PINK UMBRELLA could pack up and go, before the kids have a chance to return.
    (We never take an umbrella because no one ever sits under it or it blows away!) I also put my cell phone number, with marker, inside their cap/hat, on their arm if necessary! My kids know my number but in a panic may forget it.
  8. CHANGE OF CLOTHES FOR ALL (EVEN THE HUSBAND)– at the end of a long, sun and fun filled day there’s nothing worse than getting into a car with a wet, sandy bum! Plus your child may fall asleep, take dry clothes which you can leave in a bag in the car (next to your 2l bottle of tap water). Once back at the car the 2l water bottle will be nicely warmed from the sun. Get your child to take off their cossie, rinse them down with warm water and dress them in their dry clothes. Time for a nap during the car ride home. Bliss.
  9. HOTEL STAY – IF you have ventured further than your local beach and braved a resort, make sure your room is close to the action. Quite often you need to carry baby and all the paraphernalia (“gedoente”) to the beach or the pool side. Proximity makes it easier to nip back to the room if you need to change a nappy or baby needs to sleep.

With all the preparation the day becomes a joy, laughter is spontaneous and memories are made. Good Luck, take photos, these sunny days are the days our kids remember!

For more information on our beautiful beaches across South Africa, click here:

Happy Holidays!

P.S. Mums swim in the sea with your kids! Your children will remember you swimming with them and not the size of your thighs! (#notetoself)