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Being prepared at the beach

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School is out and the weather has been perfect. With the coast just a few miles away from us here in West LA, you can almost hear it calling out to us to come put our toes in the sand. Playing at the beach is often an all day adventure that takes a toll on the whole family. There are a few things you can do to help prepare your family for a day at the beach to ensure a happier and less stressed day of fun in the sun.

1) Keeping up the Energy Levels

It's a time to relax and enjoy yourselves in the summer, but going to the beach can be extremely draining. Flying kites, playing football, chasing birds, running in the waves and building sand castles are just some of the many activities that can tire anyone out during their time at the beach. It's vital to pack a cooler full of cold water and healthy snacks to refuel and refresh. Carrot sticks with peanut butter are an excellent way to score some yummy protein. A sandwich made with whole grain bread, vegetables and your choice of meat will make a well balanced lunch. If you would like to add some more healthy snacks to your cooler to keep everyone satisfied as they work up their appetites, try adding some applesauce, string cheese and bananas.

2) Preparing for the Crash

After all that salty air, sunshine and playtime, everyone is going to start to feel very exhausted toward to end of your trip. One of the best ways to get everyone a bit more comfortable is to wash off and change into something clean, cozy and warm. Make sure you have the number one beach staple, baby powder. It takes off even sticky wet sand in a snap. If there are no showers, be sure to have plenty of wet wipes around to clean off hands and feet. Have everyone change into their fresh clothes while still at the beach. Then, after you endure the daunting task of lugging everything back to the car while the kids whine, you won't have to worry about changing them at home when they are tired and ready to sleep (or already passed out). Also, if you have little ones, keep their favorite blanket or toy in the car so when they get into their car seat they can cuddle it and knock out.

3) Stay Safe in the Sun

The sun's UVB rays are at their strongest between the hours of 10am and 4pm, April through October. The UVA rays stay pretty consistent throughout the year. Both are harmful with prolonged exposure. If you can, try to avoid being out in the sun during this time and schedule your beach trip for a later time in the day. Regardless of when you go, a wide brimmed hat that shades your face and shoulders is going to be your best friend for sun protection. You should apply a lotion sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 before you leave the house and makes sure to re-apply regularly during your visit. Spray sunscreen is much easier once you get to the beach so you don't get your hands messy. Another tip for sun safety is to keep on as much clothing as is reasonable such as a swim shirt during water play and a light sweater when not in the water.

Making sure to cover some of the basics creates a more pleasant experience. Taking care of comfort levels and proper food and hydration will keep everyone happy. Happier kids means happier Mom. Don't forget to bring a book just in case you actually get to read. Enjoy the beach!

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