I’m shouting from the rooftops how happy I am that it’s finally warm outside and my gardens are in bloom. With warm weather comes SUMMER TIME! This is the best time of year with kiddos. There is so much to do – from swimming, catching lighting bugs, sipping lemonade, having picnics..the list could go on forever. But what comes to mind for a lot of us is vacation. Ahh, vacation…laying on the beach for hours, reading your favorite books and magazines, people watching, letting your mind go totally free…well, erase that because it’s not that way with kids. BUT there is so much more! There is searching for sea shells, finding crabs, watching them experience the amazing ocean for the first time, building sand castles, and so much fun in the sun. We have been taking our girls to the beach since they’ve been 2 months old and have found a few helpful tricks along the way. I’m not going to go into super depth about each one because, lets face it, this is a nap time blog post and my time is limited – I know you Mamas feel me on that! But hopefully you can find one or two things you haven’t thought about that will make your summer trip a little easier:
Long car rides can be rough for little ones. Babies tend to sleep a lot in the car, but toddlers are much smarter than that and can typically keep their eyes open for most of the trip. We are a non-screen-time-in-the-car family so we opt to buy new, interactive books (books with flaps, parts that move, make sound, etc) just for the car ride. Of course, you don’t want to give these to the kids until you’re well into your trip and they seem to be growing restless. In addition to books, our kids love Melissa and Doug’s Water Wow activities. It keeps them busy and they can do them over and over. Also, another thing we like to do is pre pack snacks that are not messy or dangerous for the car. I prefer to use pretzels for this, but there are tons of other options out there. And, finally, we buy a new toy for each child that we know will be a HUGE hit to get through the last leg of the trip. For our most recent trip, which was 9 hours, we gave them Elsa and Ariel dolls. These were less than $10 and got us through the last 3 hours of the trip. Our girls were ecstatic over them and this helped with dinners on vacation as well (they carried them EVERYWHERE). If all else fails, stream their favorite songs and have an in-car dance party!
The beach can be a fun place for kids, but it also has it’s difficult aspects as well. One word: sand. When our girls were little (not quite walking, but sitting up on their own), we bought an inflatable duck bath tub at Target and filled it with ocean water. We set it under the umbrella, placed some toys in there and voila instant baby pool on the beach! This helps keep sand out of baby’s diaper and, more importantly, mouth! You can also use this in your hotel’s bath tub to bathe baby – added bonus! Back to the sand issue. Sand in your baby’s diaper is literally a hot mess. Changing their diaper is even more of a nightmare and your baby’s bottom can easily become irritated. We have found that using corn starch is an amazing solution to this. It absorbs all the moisture and allows you to easily wipe away the sand to clean baby’s bum and put on a new diaper. Corn starch is a much safer alternative to baby powder, which has been proven to cause certain types of cancer. Save yourself the hassle and buy a wagon specially made for the sand to throw all your beach stuff in. This will allow you to have open arms to carry your little one and pulling your baby down the beach can make for fun activity once you empty out all the wagon’s contents. Our all time favorite sun block is Babyganics Sunscreen Spray. It has all safe ingredients and WORKS. Plus, kids think it’s fun to help rub it in once you spray them down. Make sure you have a lot of drinking water and plenty of shade available to babies because they can very easily overheat. And don’t forget to pre pack some snacks. Little ones are always hungry.
Staying in a hotel can be…interesting…with kids. We have a travel trailer so much of our traveling is done with that, but for the times we do stay in a hotel we have found a few things that help. Hotel tubs are not a great place for babies bare butts to be sitting in. So, again, using the inflatable tub from the beach will work great for this. Also, just showering with your little ones is an option and then hand them to Dad for drying and changing while you enjoy the rest of your shower in peace 🙂 Try to pack easy breakfast items. I made muffins for the kids before we left for vacation and, not only were they healthy, but they were packed with a ton of protein to help keep kids full. I made Kodiak Cakes blueberry muffins, which were yummy and fun to make with the kids before the trip. Also, it’s helpful to stay at a hotel with a small kitchen because they provide plates, utensils, coffee maker, etc. It’s a lot less for you to think about, which is great for vacation. If you have babies or young toddlers, bring a pack and play or see if the hotel can provide one. This is the best sleeping arrangement for your littlest ones. We allowed both of our girls to bring two of their favorite stuffed animals. This provided comfort for them in the car as well as in the hotel when sleeping in an unfamiliar setting. We saved two more new toys for this part of the trip. We bought the girls Melissa and Doug magnetic dress-up dolls. They love these toys and they provide so much imaginative play time. This was perfect while Aaron and I were enjoying our coffee on the balcony and the kids wanted something to do. The best part is we are able to bring them home and these are toys they never bore of. My final tip for a hotel stay, and I think this is an ingenious one, is BRING YOUR ROKU (or firestick or however you stream). This is amazing. I don’t want to waste time looking through an unfamiliar hotel tv guide for appropriate kids shows. So bringing your Roku with all the apps already on there is the perfect solution. We allowed the kids to watch an episode of their favorite shows while we showered and got ready for dinner. It gave us time to do what we need to while allowing them some relaxation and unwind time.
There you have it! A few tips and tricks for summer time success. I hope you are able to utilize at least one of these ideas and in turn if you have some good ones please, please tell me what they are! Have a fun, safe summer with your little ones and get out there and play!
PS: Check out one of my favorite beach sessions with my oldest, who was only 1 and itty bitty in this photo!!