15 TIPS FOR SURVIVING THE BEACH WITH A TODDLER

15 TIPS FOR SURVIVING THE BEACH WITH A TODDLER

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:

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. 

15 tips surviving beach with a toddler

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.

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36 Comments

  1. June 10, 2015 / 8:17 am

    What a great post. We will be heading to the beach in a few weeks (via Cornwall) with a 3 and 1 year old so will be putting your advice into practice. Love the tip about a towel not wet wipes – definitely tried that one before without thinking it through. Whoops.#kidscorner

    • June 10, 2015 / 8:24 pm

      I made that mistake with the wet wipe haha. It just made it so much worse! Oh I hope you have a great time & it’s nice & sunny for you. We do have some incredible beaches down here. I wrote a post on (my personal favourites!) Top 5 Family Friendly Beaches In Cornwall, if you’re stuck for places to go it’s worth checking out. 🙂 xx – http://www.lifeunexpected.co.uk/top-5-family-friendly-beaches-in-cornwall/

  2. Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love)
    June 10, 2015 / 10:44 am

    Fab tips on going to the beach with your toddler and ones that I’ll bear in mind if we do manage to get a trip to the beach at some point. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • June 10, 2015 / 8:26 pm

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I hope you do get to a beach soon, although the post is quite glum, it actually is REALLY fun running around with them. 🙂 x

  3. June 10, 2015 / 12:00 pm

    Great tips. I’m still giggling over the dive bomb situation – but it is true!! We have been there. Sit by the toilets for sure – all your tips are great. #KidsCorner

    • June 10, 2015 / 8:26 pm

      Thank you so much Becky! Haha, i’ve been dive bombed way too many times. It’s hard to teach a toddler to not wave their food because of the birds. 😀 xx

      • July 25, 2015 / 3:05 pm

        Yes a toddler wouldn’t appreciate that concept until the bird dives down & swipes the food lol That happened to me when I was little. I’m back from #bigfatlinky x

        • July 27, 2015 / 6:17 pm

          Oh no! Hopefully you’re not afraid of birds now. The same thing happened to my sister when she was small and 20 years later, she’s still terrified of birds. x

  4. June 10, 2015 / 9:32 pm

    Great tips thank you we are hoping the weather will be good enough for a visit this weekend 🙂 Lovely photos too #KidsCorner

    • June 13, 2015 / 7:10 am

      Thank you so much. Oh I hope it clears up for you. It’s not the nicest weekend at the moment 🙁 x

  5. June 14, 2015 / 9:08 pm

    haha love your dig a hole tip! we are in Dorset and love going to the beach the girls are really good actually cus they all just play together and don’t go too far thanks for sharing #kidscorner x

    • June 15, 2015 / 9:46 pm

      Haha digging a pit definitely keeps them around. It’s so good that they all play together. I used to work in Dorset. It’s so beautiful. You’re very lucky to live there 😀 xx

  6. June 15, 2015 / 8:15 pm

    Pushchairs really are rubbish on sand aren’t they? We always drag ours along like lunatics haha! Great list, Thanks for sharing in #KidsCorner x

    • June 15, 2015 / 9:47 pm

      I see so many people struggling haha. I do try & avoid taking it nowadays, it’s just hard with all the stuff. Thank you for hosting. x

  7. June 16, 2015 / 7:23 am

    These tips a re brilliant. I will definitely keep them in mind, hoping to go when it’s not so windy. Been dreaming of going to the beach with my boy, but you are right, it’s best to go with someone! #twinklytuesday Sabrina xx

    • June 16, 2015 / 6:12 pm

      It really is helpful to have someone with you. It is fun playing with a toddler on the beach, but if you want some relaxation time, an extra pair of hands is really helpful. x

  8. June 16, 2015 / 11:03 am

    Great tips! We hit the beach last week with a 1 and a 3 year old, I brought my hasband and parents in law because you’re right, being at the beach with toddlers is not relaxing! #TwinklyTuesday

    • June 16, 2015 / 6:14 pm

      I hope you had a great time & actually got to relax a bit with all of those extra pair of hands. It’s so much fun playing with them in the sand, but it’s also nice to get a bit of you time too. x

  9. Jenny Eaves
    June 16, 2015 / 1:24 pm

    Great tips! We spent a lot of time on the beach with the boys on holiday and digging holes was definitely the best idea to keep them still! 🙂 xx

    • June 16, 2015 / 6:14 pm

      It really works! 😀 Usually we find a hole & a hill keeps Evie still for AGES! 🙂 x

  10. June 16, 2015 / 7:48 pm

    I love it!!!! Top tips!!!!! And all so true!!! #twinklytuesday

  11. June 17, 2015 / 1:01 pm

    Great tips! We actually live by the sea and have a beach just a 5 minute drive away but my son hated the sand last year when he was 1.5yrs so we rarely went. And the sea scared him! This year he loves it and its good because he’s passed the are where they just want to eat it!! #twinklytuesday

    • June 21, 2015 / 4:27 pm

      Haha we’re lucky. Evie fell over quite young & got a mouthful. She hasn’t tried to eat it since. That’s such a shame that he hated it last year but great that he loves it now. It is so much fun to take them to the beach & they don’t get bored very easily. x

  12. June 17, 2015 / 7:00 pm

    SUCH a great post! I’m desperate to take my boys to a ‘proper’ beach holiday!! I can’t wait and I’ll be printing your tips out when we do finally book a holiday abroad! 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday — hope to see you again next week! x

    Caro | http://www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk

    • July 16, 2015 / 8:48 am

      They’ll love being on the beach. It is so much fun. 😀 x

  13. June 17, 2015 / 11:53 pm

    What fab tips! I haven’t taken my toddler yet on a beach, but will do this summer, so good to have some tips. They are so silly aren’t they, and non-stop – there are some times I’ve taken her to the town or park on my own and gosh, you end up knackered. On a beach I guess you end up knackered and get sand everywhere… Hmm, not that sure if we should go to the beach after all 😀 #brilliantblogposts

    • June 21, 2015 / 4:20 pm

      Haha you do need a good sleep after a trip to the park/the beach. The sand does get everywhere but it’s not too bad. It’s a great cushion if they fall over which is so much better than the park. You don’t worry too much. Apart from if they eat the sand, the beach is pretty baby friendly. It’s so cute watching them try & walk on sand for the first time too. I really hope that you have fun! 😀 xx

  14. Mama, My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows
    June 18, 2015 / 1:29 am

    Fantastic tips! We’re gearing up to our first beach visit with a mobile baby so these points will come in really hand, thanks!

    #brilliantblogposts

  15. Lauren
    June 18, 2015 / 7:34 pm

    Love these tips our 3 year old was so chilled at the beach on our recent holiday, his little brother on the other had was slightly crazy constantly wanting other peoples toys/balls/buckets (even when we had the same ones!) and also decided that he needed to wash his hands eery time he got sand on them! x #brilliantblogposts

    • June 21, 2015 / 4:16 pm

      Awww haha. He must have washed his hands A LOT. I hope Evie gets quite chilled when she’s three. You’re so brave going with two little ones! 😀 I must admit it is so much fun taking them to the beach. There is so much space to let them roam & apart from if they try & eat sand, it’s pretty toddler friendly. x

  16. Budgetfoodmummy aka Hayleigh
    July 26, 2015 / 4:59 pm

    I’ve just got back from hayle beach and I felt pretty smug watching people on holiday with their children, I use the dig a hole technique too! Great tips, I could of done with them a coupleof years ago!

    • July 27, 2015 / 6:33 pm

      I grew up in Hayle. I absolutely love the beaches their. There is so much space! You do feel like you’ve got a bit of insider knowledge don’t you, because we’re such experienced beach goers haha. Although apparently I was a nightmare beach goer when I was a toddler. x

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