I consider myself extremely lucky to have grown up on the ocean and to be sharing that experience with my children. We live in a beautiful part of the country and are only a short drive from a variety of beaches. Growing up at the beach, I truly believe that salt water cures EVERYTHING. When we were young, our parents would tell us to soak our bumps and scrapes in the water and they would get better. As we became young adults, we discovered that salt water can help cure the “tiredness” from the night before. Now, as a mom, I have discovered that it can fix arguing children.
Our boys are 5 and 7. We go through phases where they get along and times when they don’t. Right now, is a time that they aren’t getting along. It has been weeks of squabbling with each other. Last weekend, we were lucky enough to sneak in a few hours at the beach as a family. Pulling in the parking lot, everything changed. The kids were helpful bringing their stuff down the beach and stopped whining. After sunscreen, they played in the sand and went swimming. Not an argument to be heard. Of course, everything started up again on the ride home, but it was a great two hours.
The boys are well-trained beach bums. They have been going to the beach since they were born. We have gone through the not wanting to put our feet in the sand, not liking seaweed, trying to eat rocks and shells and not wanting sunscreen – and it’s all been worth it! Now, they both know how to swim, are complacent about sunscreen (they know it’s not an option) and truly enjoy everything the beach has to offer.
We are beach minimalists. Everyone is responsible for their own beach gear. Generally, we bring boogie boards, lunch, towels and sunscreen. I carry my chair and sometimes the boys bring their chairs down. We don’t lug a lot of toys down. A few shovels and buckets do the trick. In the heat of the summer, they spend most of their time playing in the water. During the shoulder seasons, they play in the sand and look for shells. It is a great environment for them to explore. They love looking for fish and shells. Some beaches offer great tidal pools where they look for sand dollars and starfish. The beach is constantly changing as the tides bring in new treasures.
On the weekends, we spend the entire day on the beach as the family. These days are a little different because we drive onto the beach and can pack up our car. This allows us to bring books to read and paper and crayons to color. I am so lucky to raise boys with sand between their toes and the knowledge that salt water cures everything!!