There is nothing quite like making memories with your children around water. It’s a quick summertime remedy of exploration when the thermostat peaks into the triple digits and your kids have upped the fighting in confined spaces. You get to work on your tan, children play and giggle for hours and bedtime may get pushed up by a good two hours.
However, fear may creep in. Drowning stories plaque a parent’s hypervigilance during the summer season. Also, multiple children force us into zone defense mode and there aren’t enough hands and eyes to latch onto their every move. We want to be smart and cautious, yet make fun memories despite our concerns. It can be a tough feat to make these outings as easy on ourselves and enjoyable as humanly possible. Here are seven ways to survive water exploration with your kids.
#1) Have a restocked swim bag ready to go at all times. This is assuming you plan on making frequent visits to the pool, beach, lake, etc. Throw it over your shoulder, into the car and off you go. Have a bag strategically placed out of arms reach of little hands with towels, sunscreen, water goggles, diapers and wipes (if applicable), bands aids, change of clothes, small toys, drinks and portable snacks. For example, chips. Who cares if they aren’t impeccably healthy. You can feed them apples at dinner. Furthermore, the expiration date is good for the whole summer so you are set! Never get stuck with ornery, starving children after swimming. It ruins the moment.
#2) Apply sunscreen prior to leaving home if possible. Kids see water, they leap and good luck trying to get them out to lather on the lotion! I have sprayed the stuff on them from the edge of the pool, chased them down a small stretch of the Gulf Coast and may have even forgotten to apply one time before but I wouldn’t recommend any of those scenarios. 🙂
#3) Utilize a Coast Guard Approved life jacket for small children, put it on them BEFORE they get into the water and keep it on them the entire excursion. This is a must, especially around bodies of water that are not transparent, such as a lake or river. Those handy straps around the base of the neck are especially convenient in case of a rogue rip tide, to swipe your kid up out of water when they are in harm’s way or need effective persuasion on not terrorizing their sibling with a pool noodle.
#3) Mermaid tails, blow up basketball goals, Finding Dory toys, dive toys, floats, sand toys and water guns (if you don’t mind getting squirted) should get you an extra 30 minutes of Vitamin D exposure, pending they don’t fight over the item. In that case, invest in two or more to prevent kid on kid mortal combat.
#4) Wet bags, Grocery or plastic bags to store wet clothes in prior to departure so you don’t have to hear the “Mama, I’m freezing!” all the way home.
#5) Technically, swimming counts as a bath. Who really wants to fight a grumpy, sun glistened three year old for a hair wash. Unless you see gobs of sand in the hair or have a medical reason to do so otherwise, skip it!
#6) Explore with a proper perspective. Outings with children, especially around H2O, are going to be work. Rarely will you obtain an even tan, someone will argue, whine or rage and you may get stuck loading all the loot back into the car by yourself. We all need to be educated in CPR. It is what it is.
#7) Make it a priority to take lots of pictures and take special precaution to keep your choice picture taker DRY! I lost an entire adventure one time due to getting it soaked with a rogue water gun.
In conclusion, these are just a few survival tips I have learned over the years. As the kids grow into their teenage years, I may be investing into one of the latest and greatest waterproof GPS devices. Including, but not limited to, a hidden microphone, a 360 degree view camera and a built in human pheromone indicator with a signal that connects to my device, from anywhere on the planet.
That is another season of exploration for another day. In the meantime, may us all enjoy a safe, enjoyable summer with our children. Feel free to comment on any additional suggestions that we could all benefit from when exploring water with our children.