We have recently discovered that our girls are obsessed with the beach. We aren't too far away so sometimes when Andrew get's off work early we will load up the car and head on over to the harbor. I feel like now we really have a system when we take the girls anywhere. It's like an unspoken language and Andrew and I just get it done! After we got back in the car last time we took them to the beach we high-fived! It always feels like such an accomplishment to go anywhere and survive. So today I am giving you my top 5 tips for taking your little ones (especially twins) to the beach.
1. Get yourself a wagon. Our girls are at the age where they don't like being in the stroller much. They want more independence (which seems a little early for that!) and sitting in a wagon allows them to not feel totally strapped down to the seat. My parents got this one for us and we love it! It folds up nice an compact and comes with a little sun cover if you want to use that too. We've realized so many people have wagons at the beach! I thought we were being all clever bringing it, but clearly we aren't the first ones to think of that...lol! It also serves as a great storage bin. The girls sit in it on the way to the water but we usually hold them coming back and put all our chairs and stuff inside it.
2. Change them into their swim diapers in the car. I just keep their normal clothes on when we drive to the beach and bring their swim diapers (bring a few extra just in case) and bathing suits with us. Once we park, we unload the car which gives us space to change them in the back. We have an Explorer which is a great size for us right now. But we are already looking at bigger cars for our next baby! One time I put their swim diapers on before we left and they filled them up by the time we got there. Swim diapers aren't that absorbent to begin with, so you don't want them ruining your car seats. Once we get back to the car I put on a clean diaper and throw on a lightweight dress to drive home in.
3. Bring more snacks and water than you think you need. With two little people who are growing like weeds, you need to be prepared for when their hunger strikes! And you never know if one will drop their snack in the sand. I always think I'm bringing enough and then somehow I don't! Also bring a large water bottle for yourself and water bottles for them. My girls hate when their hands are dirty so I'm always having to pour water on their hands to clean them off. Don't forget to bring extra wipes because that's just always a must! Something else I like to do is bring empty bottles/sippy cups that are leak proof and fill them up with milk when we go to a restaurant. That way they don't spill the cups the restaurant gives them everywhere.
4. Plan your day around their usual schedule. We like to do things in the morning before their nap or later in the afternoon once they wake up. We've been going to the beach around 3:30/4 depending on their nap and then will head straight to the water when we get there. After they have tired themselves out for a while we will pack all our stuff up and go get some dinner. Sometimes it's easier to go out to eat because you can just sit them in a high chair and don't have to worry about clean up as much. Now let me clarify! I was a waitress for years and years and years and I hated when people would come in a leave a gigantic mess for me. And now I am literally THAT person, so I try my best to pick up and leave a generous tip. See the next tip for more on that topic!
We usually eat between 5/6:00 which is normal for them. They will let us know when they are ready for dinner too. They'll be a little cranky and yelling "din din, din din!" aka time to pack up and go eat! We eat fast and then load everyone up in the car to get back by a reasonable time. Sometimes they'll fall asleep in the car but lately they have been staying awake. Obviously since we only have the two of them we are able to keep them on a tight schedule, but I know once more kids are in the picture it will force us to be more flexible.
5. Eat dinner quick! Haha! Okay for my last tip I want to walk you through eating out with us. We have 'semi' mastered this and really know things to do and things to avoid.
-Order their food first. The second we sit down I look at the kids menu and order their stuff right when we see our server. If we can, we order our food too and I just ask to bring their food out first if it's ready.
-Crayons, spoons, forks and straws. These are all secret weapons to use when eating out. Now that they can color that's always something to keep them occupied. But June doesn't like to color as much as Violet so we have to bring out the utensils! When they were younger Andrew would always hide the spoons until they REALLY needed them. I don't know why, but they love playing with spoons.
-Have someone take care of the check and someone take one kid outside. Towards the end of the meal, the girls get restless. I'll take one outside with all our stuff and Andrew will stay with the other, clean up the table and close out our check.
-Tip more. Usually there will be a little mess, especially on the ground. We try to pick up as much as we can but I think it's still nice to leave a little extra when you have little kids. (I've been there and it's not fun cleaning up a million sugar packets!)
So those are my tips for taking your little ones to the beach. It can definitely be stressful taking them places, but it's also very needed. I love seeing them experience new things and at the end of the day we are always glad we took them. If you have some tips of your own, let us all know in the comments!