Toddlers and the beach don't always mix. Sun, sand, waves… our pleasures are often their inconveniences! If you've been planning a beach vacation, here's a survival guide for your little ones.
Enemy 1: the sun
You like to feel the sun warming your skin, but your little one doesn't like it that much. To be able to spend days without (too much) complaining, Julie Brodeur, mother, traveler and one of the three authors of the Ulysse guide Travelling with children, offers this:
- Use a beach tent. It is a refuge from the sun, but also from the sand which, with the wind, can whip the face and enter the eyes.
- Sit in a shady place. In addition to keeping you cool, you'll be set back from the crowd, which should be doubly pleasing to your little one.
- Of course, we wear sunscreen (often!). Little ones don't always appreciate being creamed, but by involving them in the process, they are usually less sulky. Have them spread the cream on their arms and legs. The face is your business!
- Favor wide-brimmed hats.
- A bathing suit is good, a wetsuit or a water shirt is better.
- Avoid the beach between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. That's good, it's time for dinner and nap!
Enemy 2: Sand
The sand, sometimes so soft underfoot, can also be hot and disturbing for the little ones. This was the biggest challenge for Annie Leclerc, mom, traveler and author of the blog Quand do we arrive?. “My daughter hated the beach, especially the sand,” she says. It looked like she didn't understand what those little particles were that were sticking to her body. Here are some tricks to get by:
- Introduce him to sand and its different textures. “I managed to calm and interest my daughter by showing her the difference between wet sand and dry sand,” says Annie Leclerc.
- Bring sand toys. Shovels for digging, shapes for building castles, etc.
- Always put something (beach towel, pareo, etc.) under your child's buttocks when you put him on the sand. The parasites that nest there can infiltrate their bikini line, then their genitals, which would considerably harm their holidays… and yours.
Enemy 3: Water
On the edge of a calm lake, not too deep and stony, generally, it's fine. On the other hand, at sea, s alt water and waves can frightenyour little one.
- Get shoes designed to go in the water. This will save your child the inconvenience of stepping on small spiky shells.
- Think of floatable toys, such as their favorite characters. “My daughter loved Ariel, the little mermaid. I had bought her some floatable toys that she could only use in the sea,” says Annie Leclerc.
- Place your child near the water, where the waves will barely brush their toes. “I had installed my daughter close to young people of about 5 years old who were playing in the water. After a while, by mimicry, she wanted to go into the water too,” says Annie Leclerc.
Enemy4: the vastness of the place
For us, it is soothing to face the immensity of the ocean, to infinity. For them it can be scary.
- Make her her own space. “In Grenada, I had found rocks and made a little shelter for my daughter. It was very, very, very sketchy, but I feel like she felt safer,” says Annie Leclerc.
- Always settle in the same place, day after day. This will be safe for your child.
Other tips and advice
Here is some other information you might find useful for a successful trip to the beach.
- A jellyfish stuck on your little one? Spray it with vinegar, it will let go immediately (yes, that means you should drag a container of vinegarin your beach bag!).
- Drink water. Children rarely express their thirst, so it's up to you to think about it. Regularly. Because with all this sun, thirst not thirst, we drink!
- To have fresh water despite the heat, fill your bottle with ice cubes rather than water (or place it in the freezer the day before). The ice will melt throughout the day, ensuring you have plenty of fresh water.
- Other ways to refresh little rapido-prestos: a wet wipe to wipe over the face, neck and back of the neck or a water mist (sold in pharmacies).
- Offer compromises, like going to the beach for an hour, then to the pool.
- A shell hunt and a sandcastle competition are classics to make them appreciate the joys of the beach.
- Remember that beach vacations are learning. These tips and advice will make your job easier, but won't necessarily lead to your little one discovering a passion for sand and waves this summer. Don't worry, it's a phase, and like many other things, it will pass!