“Mommy can we go to the beach today?”
“I don’t know honey, we’ll see” I answer vaguely.
“Pleeeaasseee mommy! I love the beach!”
I inwardly sigh and get a little tense. It’s a question I dread hearing. I really don’t like going to the beach!
Normally a trip to the beach with young kids is a fun activity for a family. They can play in the sun, run around the beach, swim in the water, take pictures, and build memories.
But when you’re a single mom, a trip to the beach with young kids is extremely stressful to say the least. You never sit down because you are following or wrangling your kids, chasing down beach toys, or just keeping a vigilant watch. There’s no picture taking because by the time you get your phone out to take a picture, one of your kids is running off somewhere.
I know all too well how exhausting it is and that it’s not very enjoyable for you. But if your kids enjoy going to the beach, you want them to go have fun outside, and expend all that energy.
So what do you do?
I realized that I had to figure out how to make going to the beach a little easier. I knew I wanted to take my kids because the beach is a lot of fun for them and then they pass out hard afterwards, (bonus!!).
These are tips I use all the time when going to the beach!
Here are some beach hacks for single moms with young kids to take some of the stress away!
Don’t bring too many toys
I’ve made this mistake of bringing every sandcastle, shovel, and sand mold toy we had in hopes it would keep the kids busy on the sand. What ended up happening was the kids would litter the toys all over the beach or other kids would take the toys. I would be running around the beach picking up the toys as my kids got tired of them, or trying to make sure we got our toys back from the other kids who borrowed them!
Moral of that story is only bring a few sand toys. Trust me, your kids will be fine with a few sand toys, they’ll never even miss all the other ones you left at home! Plus if your kids are anything like mine, they enjoy poking around in nature more than playing with the toys anyway. It’s one less thing for you to worry about.
Go to a less crowded beach or go during a time when the beach isn’t busy
This will save you from having to constantly scan through the crowd to keep a close eye on your kids and make sure they didn’t go too far. The anxiety level is just way higher on a beach with a ton of other people rather than a beach with a few people.
Set rules and expectations ahead of time
Let your kids know what the rules are before you go to the beach and what happens if they don’t follow the rules.
For example I tell my oldest she has to stay near me, she’s not allowed to go in the deep water, and she has to let me know if she wants to go somewhere else. I’ve told her that if she doesn’t follow the rules then we will have to leave the beach right away. (Luckily we haven’t had to do that!)
But be prepared to stick to the rules you set. So if the consequence of not following the rule is you have to leave the beach, stick to your word. The next time they’ll think twice about not following the rules because they remember the consequence.
Go with someone else
This can be a good way to reduce stress on a visit to the beach, but only if you are communicating with that other person at all times. Sometimes, when there are other people around, you guys can easily assume the other person is watching the kids. But if both people are assuming and no one is watching, then you lose track of your kids or something worse can happen.
So you always want to make sure you communicate who is watching which kid. You can even assign a kid to each person so each of you know who is responsible at all times for which kid.
You also want a backup plan in case that person cancels on you. Last summer I asked a friend to go with me to the beach, they said yea sure it’ll be fun! So I told my kids who were super excited, got them dressed and slathered in sunscreen, and waited for my friend.
Well they ended up canceling on me last minute and then I was stuck. My kids were ready and chompin’ at the bit to go, but I didn’t want to go alone. I ended up going with plan b which consisted of going anyway and using the tips on this list. My kids had a great time and it actually wasn’t as stressful as I anticipated.
Go to a beach with a lifeguard
I wouldn’t solely rely on them as another person to specifically watch your kids, but there is a bit of an ease of mind to know there’s extra eyeballs on the people in the water. It’s also comforting to know there’s someone there who knows what to do in an emergency situation.
Bring floaties or a floating jacket
Any extra safety precautions are nice when you’re at the beach. Plus if you have one that can swim and one that can’t, it’s a way to take your little one with you and keep them safe while still sticking with your older child in the water.
Have extra activities planned
You can bring a lunch to have a picnic on the grass. You can go to a park by the beach. It’s nice when there are other things to do besides just the beach because you can relax the vigilance a little bit when you’re doing those other things. Plus your kids can still enjoy being outside and doing fun activities they may not normally get to do!
If this is a part of your plan, you’ll want to prepare your kids ahead of time. Before you leave you’ll want to tell them you will be spending some time at the beach, then you’ll have a picnic, and play at the park. That way they are prepared for that transition ahead of time.
Yes beach time can be stressful for you especially if you have young kids in tow. But you don’t want to always avoid an activity your kids will love. If you’re planning a vacation or just heading to a local area, these beach hacks for single moms can help take some stress away. You now have a plan to help make your beach trips easier and hopefully more enjoyable!