Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Poolside & Beach Must Haves for the Little Ones

It's summer and the heat is really going full blast.  Here in Florida, we're surrounded by water (or so it seems), and when the heat gets too much, we all seem to head for a pool or the beach.  Easy enough as adults, but when you have children in tow, it takes a little more planning.

You always have to think beyond the trip to the water.......what will be the "mood" after a couple or several hours, and are you going to be prepared to deal with it?
The little ones need extra protection from the sun (hats and sunblock), plenty of water to drink, little snacks throughout the day, and something to do.  If you're going to the beach, I'd suggest taking along anything from "official" beach toys to some of the plastic containers in your kitchen cabinets -- they love to fill them with sand.  It can become a great learning opportunity while filling their time with creative fun.    If you're at a pool the same thing applies.  I am constantly amazed to watch my twin granddaughters fill, refill, dump out, and refill again and again, the plastic containers I've given them to play with.  Sometimes they sink them in the pool....and sometimes they go around the patio and collect leaves and flowers to add to the water in the containers.  They love to pretend, and it's a great way to make a mess without making it in the house!

Sunscreen is imperative!  Here in Florida, during the summer, the rays of the sun are really potent by early in the day.  You can feel the UVB abd UVA rays just penetrating your skin if you're out for just a few minutes.  There's been lots of controversy over which sun screens are the best, safest, etc., and the latest one I think might be really good (I'm not being compensated to say this by the way!) is Neutrogena's Wet Skin  Sunblock.  The  most important thing is to protect the delicate skin of your little ones.  Remember--they haven't been around for years being exposed to the sun, so they're going to burn much faster than you or I.  And, if you've ever been with a child with a know you don't want to go there again!

Another item I never seem to have enough of.......towels!  What I finally realized is I need towels for lying on, towels for drying, and towels for getting home in.  The long story short--you can never have too many towels at the pool or beach! There's nothing worse than sitting on a towel that's already soaked through, or covered in that fine beach sand.  Take enough so that when you're ready to leave, you can wrap everyone in a clean, dry, non-sandy towel to ride home in comfort.  There are so many available today, that there's really no excuse not to have an abundance of beach and pool towels for everyone!

One last thing to consider might be a change of clothes before you leave the beach or pool.  You know the little ones are going to most likely fall asleep if your trip home is more than 10-minutes, so why not make them comfortable.  Taking a change of clothes can make all the difference when they finally wake up.  And, if you're staying longer at the beach or pool, then you'll definitely want to take a change of clothes.  Look for little outfits that have coordinate hats.  Sometimes we forget the glare of the sun can be damaging over time, so look for hats with wide brims to help protect your little one from that.  If it happens to match the outfit--that's a plus!  But the main thing is, shade those precious little eyes from the glare of the sun.