When you think of heading to the beach on vacation your mind wonders off with thoughts of laying on a beach chair, sunning while the kids play, or having a leisurely stroll on the beach with your kids while holding your husband’s hand and admiring the wonder of it all — yeah, it isn’t like that with kids.
The beach can be stressful as a parent of young children if you don’t have rules. Just like anyplace you take your kids that has a mixture of fun and danger, you need to identify the dangers, make sure you and your children are aware of what they are, and plan accordingly.
Before my children go in the water we go over a list of ground rules and key phrases. The first, most important one is “RUN!” If I yell “RUN” to my kids they are to run back up the beach towel/sitting area as quickly as possible, without asking questions. “RUN” mean there is either a danger in the water or someone is in trouble and I need them out of the water so I can help someone else.
The next word is “POP UP!” I use “POP UP” when my kids are playing in the waves, or are swimming in a shallow area, when a bigger wave is coming. This alerts them to watch the oncoming wave so they can jump or dive under it. I cannot begin to tell you how many times these two words has saved one of my kids from being knocked over by a wave
Beaching with Big Kids
Going to the beach with tweens and teens isn’t always easier either. This group likes to go out as far as possible into the water. Telling them not to go further than their knees just doesn’t thrill them in the least, so they like to push the limits here. If the water is calm enough, I will let my bigger bunch go waist high, knowing they will likely sneak out to chest high if I don’t keep a close watch on them. When we are enjoying the waves with just our bunch, they aren’t, usually, as pushy about it. But if you are beachin’ with a group of tweens and teens, they will go much further out than what is safe. Stay firm or stay near a lifeguard if you aren’t a strong enough swimmer to rescue a teenager on your own.
“Tighten Up” while extending my arms straight in front of me and pushing my hands inward is a great way to tell teenagers they need to get back to the safe area. When I yell “Tighten Up” to my big kids, this lets them know they are moving too far out or too far down the beach. They stop what they are doing, go back to directly in front of our beach chairs, and come back to waist high water.
Free Printable Beach Scavenger Hunt!
I know, I know! How are my kids going to find a mermaid? They will, don’t worry! It will probably be a simple splash in the water from something completely unrelated, but to your five year-old daughter, it was a mermaid! Download this free printable HERE.