Are you thinking of taking your toddler to the beach this summer?
As exciting as summer holidays are, if you’ve never been to a beach with your toddler before, you might be in for a shock.
You may have dreams of lounging around and catching some sun as your toddler plays nicely with their bucket and spade beside you. But, unless your little ones are in a nursery or with a babysitter, your days of beach lounging are over (temporarily).
Going to the beach with a toddler is hard. Yes, it is a lot of fun too, but they will at some point get a mouth full of sand and they will spend most of their time running off.
Older children are great to take to the beach, they make friends, find rock pools and can entertain themselves safely. So fret not, this isn’t forever.
Living by the beach and going regularly since Evie has been a baby has allowed me to narrow down the do’s and don’ts of beaching with a toddler.
Here’s our 15 tips for surviving the beach with a toddler:
1. Make sure there are two of you!
I normally go the beach alone with a toddler and I know how much I’d appreciate a second pair of hands. You can split the childcare into shift work. One of you can watch them like Kim Kardashian’s security guard for an hour, while the other one actually gets to chill out.
2. Go with the expectation that you’ll be on your feet a lot.
There is no need to take a deck chair or a chair of any kind. You won’t need it! Your toddler won’t yet understand that they need to stay in one area and will attempt to roam the entire stretch of the beach.
3. Dig a small hole.
Children love playing in sand holes. If we dig a small hole for Evie, she runs off less and spends a long time climbing in and out again. Please be careful though and dig sensibly. It is extremely dangerous to dig holes too deep or near to the waters edge.
4. Choose a BIG beach
Big beaches mean more space to roam. We recommend sitting as far away from the next family as you can, unless they have children of a similar age. It’ll save you apologising a lot for your toddler bothering them and for trying to play with their stuff.
5. Take as little as possible.
Especially if you’re going alone. You will abandon your belongings to chase your toddler more times than you can count. Check out my ‘10 Family Beach Essentials‘.
6. If you’re going on a hot day try and avoid 11am-1pm.
This is when the beach is usually the hottest and the busiest. Early morning is great because you get to choose a great spot. Mid-afternoon is also perfect because most people are going home and it’s not so hot.
7. Bring a bucket and spade!
You will not regret it. This can be entertaining for so long. My little one gets bored so easily, but the bucket and spade will last for hours.
8. Take a BIG bottle of water.
Water is your saviour. It can be for your little one, for yourself, for washing faces, for washing feet. To keep it cool, bury it a little bit in wet sand.
9. Don’t forget a spare towel.
If your toddler tries to eat the sand, or at some point falls over and gets a face full, a spare dry towel is the quickest way to remove this, followed by a drink of water to wash out their mouth. Wet wipes usually make the sand wetter and harder to remove.
10. Prams don’t push on sand.
Try and leave it at home. If you do end up taking a pram then remember, you can’t push your pram forwards on sand. Pulling it backwards is a lot easier and quicker.
11. Sit close to the toilets.
Not so close that you can smell them, but walking through crowds of people to go to the bathroom with your toddler on a hot day, is more stressful than you’d think. Especially if they’re potty training!
12. Take talcum powder
Talcum powder is your new best friend. A small amount in your hand brushes the sticky sand off like magic. There is no need to shower the sand off, or scrub at it if you have a little bottle of talc to hand.
13. Keep your phone in your bag
I have learnt this point from experience, after not only dropping my phone in the sand but by also losing my phone to my toddler, who decided it would be a great object to bury!
14. Be wary of seagulls.
In some places (St. Ives, Cornwall especially), seagulls are on a mission to steal your food. If you and your toddler are eating, you need to decide whose sandwich is more important to save in a dive-bombing situation. Sit somewhere sheltered to avoid gulls. Especially if your toddler is a messy eater who waves her food about like mine.
15. Have fun
Lastly, have fun! It’s so funny watching them walk on and navigate sand for the first time, and it’s so much fun playing with them on the beach and introducing them to all the new sounds and textures.
If you’re coming to Cornwall this summer check out my post ‘Top 5 Family Friendly Beaches In Cornwall‘. If you’re going on holiday then you’ll love our post ‘Top Tips For Travelling With Children’.
Have you been to the beach with your toddler yet? What do you think of our 15 tips for surviving the beach with your toddler? Let us know in the comments below.