A family beach trip with kids sounds like the perfect summer outing ... in theory. The reality involves packing tons of gear and snacks, struggling to slather squirmy kids in sunscreen, and lots of sand, of course -- getting everywhere from your sandwich to your sandals. There has to be an easier way, right? Turns out, there is!
Bring baby powder
Rub a handful on your kids' hands or feet and voila -- no more sand! Just like on baby's bums, baby powder absorbs moisture, which leaves skin dry so sand can't stick. That way your kiddos can easily shake off those gritty granules before eating food or putting on flip-flops.
Wrap your valuables in a diaper
Want to join your little ones in the surf, but afraid of leaving your valuables unattended? Wrap your wallet, keys, smartphone, and other pricey possessions in a diaper to look as if it's been used. We absolutely guarantee no one will touch it.
Sit on a fitted sheet
A fitted sheet's elastic edge works as a perfect sand barrier: Just pin all four corners with your coolers and bags to create a sand-free area.
Turn your steering wheel
Parking in the sun? Turn your steering wheel 180 degrees. That way when you're ready to leave, the part of the steering wheel that you use won't burn your hands.
Dress your kid like a surfer
Tired of struggling to cover your kids in sunscreen? Minimize the work by dressing them in surfer clothes, which are typically made out of a fast-drying, breathable material that blocks the sun's damaging rays.
If your kids' ears get plugged with water after a swim, have them gently blow into a deflated balloon three or four times. This will force the water out. Problem solved!
Sew pockets on your towels
Sew pockets onto the corners of your beach towel where you can place things inside. Added bonus: It keeps your beach towel weighed down, too.
Fill a freezer bag with water
Stick it in the freezer overnight so the water inside is frozen by the time you leave. This bag does double duty: Use it as an ice pack for your cooler, and after the ice melts, you can use the bag to hold wet swimsuits.
Go early -- or late
To avoid the biggest crowds and the worst of the sun, families should consider heading to the beach early and coming back before lunch, or going there in the late afternoon or evening. Added perks: You'll get better parking and may not have to pack as much food for your trip. It's an easier and more kid-friendly strategy all round.
How do you make family beach trips with kids easier and more fun?
Guys, are you having a hard time talking about your trials, tribulations, and especially your feelings being separated from your kids? Do you find it uncomfortable going to a counselor, and you have too much pride to consider joining a support group for dads? This is very cliche, but you are not alone.