Whether you’re a rookie with the kids at the beach or you’re a regular, there is always preparation and planning that must be done in order to ensure a safe, successful and memorable beach day. Feeling some stress when getting ready to go to the beach is inevitable; you’re going to have a lot on your plate. But the remedy for most stressful situations is preparation. Use these tips to help you relax and have just as much fun as the kids. Before You Get to the Beach The first step in planning a beach day is knowing what time you’re going. The middle of the day is hottest and may not be the best idea. Going early in the morning or late in the afternoon will help prevent sunburns and heat induced irritability. The sun is very powerful even when not shining directly on you. Protect yourself and the kids by lathering up with sunscreen before your leave the house. There’s no such thing as being too protected; give the kiddies a second sunscreen rubdown once you’ve gotten to the beach as well. What to Pack The kids are going to get sand on the beach mat or towel — whether they’re aware of it or not. Having separate towels is the best way to prevent sand from getting all over you, your clothes, bags and food. Food! There’s nothing worse than being hungry or dehydrated at the beach. Pack plenty of water and low maintenance food like chips and sandwiches. Don’t forget the trash bags; can’t leave the trash with mother nature! Toys The less you bring, the less you have to account for. A simple sand bucket and shovel will definitely keep the kids occupied. Kites are also a simple, easy toy that you won’t have to stress about. Beach Activities There’s no need to bring extra “stuff” just to entertain the kids. Gathering seashells as souvenirs or for an art project is simple and fun. Having a sandcastle-building contest is also a great way to have fun. Safety First As fun as the beach may be, we can’t forget that it’s not always safe. Establishing the rules prior to arriving at the beach is a must. The kids should know that they’re not allowed into the water unless supervised, and adults always need to be able to see where they are. Freak accidents are preventable if you’re aware of what your kids are doing and where they are. Staying a Sane Adult Step one in preserving your sanity is not going to the beach as the only adult. Two sets of eyes are always better than one. Step two, assign beach chores to the kids. You don’t have to do it alone! One person can be in charge of putting the trash in a trash bag and another can fold and unfold towels. This will teach your kids how to be responsible while taking some things off of your plate.