This past week, Nico and Nati were on their spring break, which meant Becca took care of 5 kids by herself most of the week since I had to go to work. To give her a break and get the kids out of the house, we decided to go to the beach! Here is a list of 8 things that made our first beach day as a party of 7 a success!
- Time Flexibility: Although we knew some people would be getting to the beach at 9:30, we did not stress to get there at that time.. Given the fact Emilio and Alejandro had a rough night (and therefore so did Becca and I), we had gone to bed late so we let the kids sleep in. Life with kids does not always work as planned, so being flexible and not sweating the little things help. We believe kids work better in a non-pressured environment. No rush. No stress. No fights. 🙂 The beach will be there no matter what time we show up.
- A full baby is a happy baby.. a hungry baby – not so much! J . Prior to our departure to and from the beach, we made sure the babies were fed (tried to time it around their 3-4 hour schedule). This helped for a much more enjoyable beach day and for quiet car rides. 😉
- Planning what to bring: As simple as it sounds, beach outings require items such as beach chairs, tent, umbrella, change of clothes, snacks, cooler, towels, sand toys among others… it ends up being a ton of stuff, so packing most of the stuff the night before (or at least having a plan of “attack” in the morning) helps for an easier and more efficient morning… This was our first time with 5 kiddos. We had to pack extra for the babies and because we knew we would be at the beach for a while — it’s not worth going through the crazy hassle for just 1 hour of fun. Which brings me to my next point..
- “Plan” how long to stay at the beach: Ha! This sounds easy on paper. As parents we know most of the time things don’t go as planned, hence #1 on the list is very important. But it is good to estimate how long you’ll stay – Will you be there long enough to need lunch? Are you planning on having lunch by the beach? (do you need a change of clothes). In our case, will we be at the beach long enough so the babies would need to be fed again? Having an idea helps you prepare for things to come as the day goes by, when prepared (or semi-prepared) things flow more smoothly.
- Shade, shade, shade (and don’t forget sunscreen): I must admit, I overplanned for shade this time around. I brought a canopy/tent (like this one), a cocoon for the babies to protect them from sand and sun (we have a fisher price version of this item), and a beach umbrella. Becca planned well and applied sunscreen on our other 3 kids and the boys always wear rash guards with SPF to protect them from the sun. Now, Dad is a different story… I forgot to apply sunscreen and paid the price the couple of days after. Dumb move on my part. Plan for shade. The sun is fun, but can also be harmful. Plus it’s good to have a shady spot after being in the sun for a while. Don’t forget sunscreen!
- Keep an eye on the kids and relax: Huh? Yes, it can be done. As long as we know where our kids are at all times, we can relax, have a beer, talk to other adults and chill out. Some parents overprotect their kids and make the outings annoying for their kids and for everyone around them… The kids will be kids, they like to jump waves, make sand holes, run around without being careful, etc etc. We make sure we keep an eye on them, supervise and correct if/when needed and then let them get back to having fun.
- Don’t sweat the sand: Sand will be everywhere. As much as you rinse off by the beach and shake all items prior to putting them back in the car, sand will find its way to be everywhere… It is what it is. I am not going to lie, it took me a while to come to peace with that and I have learned not to sweat it anymore. I have 5 kids… the days of a clean car at all times are long gone (actually not sure if they were ever there J).
- Enjoy the beach and enjoy the kids: We don’t get to go to the beach every day. The beach offers so many cool things you can’t find anywhere else and is such a different “playground” for the kids! Plus, it offers super cool photo ops capturing the kids having a blast with their friends and siblings. We always come back from the beach with fun memories and a TON of pics to prove it (as seen below :)) .
More and more we are becoming comfortable experiencing things as a family of 7- as parents of 5 kids under the age of 6 and as parents of 6 week old twins. We don’t shy away from life. We embrace it. We learn and confirm we can do it! Yes, it is not the easiest and it has its challenges but the rewards and memories make every second worth it.
CHEERS TO LIFE!