Beach with “mid-range” kids: Pros and Cons

Well, friends, we are land-locked once again after a fun week at the beach. With the kids ages 8, 6, and 4, we haven’t quite reached the mom-can-relax-and-read-a-book years, but we are past the diapers and naps, which is still a pretty sweet spot. I consider this the “mid-range kid age.”

Sitting under the umbrella like the adult that I guess I now am (another clue: I used 50+ sunblock everyday – what?!?), I made a mental list of some pros and cons of this new season at the beach. Now that we are back in the oppressive heat that is North Texas in the summer, I think I will list them out instead of facing the laundry piles and lack of groceries that constantly plague real life.

PRO: Outside voices have found their match.

Kids can be as loud as they want on the shoreline, and the wind and waves still have the relaxing upperhand. Finally you can counterbalance all of those sing-song, clenched-teeth “inside voice, please” requests by letting their outside voices have their fun.

CON: No respect for sand limits.

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Kids, in general: “Throwing sand? Awesome idea, but you’re a little late to the party. I started as soon as I saw it.”

You can say “NO sandy feet on the beach towels!” a thousand times, but that absolutely does NOT translate to your kids that they shouldn’t dig a big hole next to you and toss all of that scooped sand STRAIGHT over their shoulder and onto said towel. And you.

After we got home and unpacked this week, I literally had to take the kid’s suitcase outside and shake the extra sand out of it. The same could probably be said of them as well, but I haven’t tried.

PRO: Waves + Sand = Unlimited entertainment.

If the mid-range crew gets tired of sand and waves, it must take more than a week so I wouldn’t know. They are no longer toddlers stuffing handfuls of sand in their mouths, but not yet old enough to be checking out girls or guys on the beach.(Heaven help those years arrive slowly because I…can’t…even…. *breathes into a paper bag*).

CON: Tantrums don’t take vacations.

You may be standing in the wonder of nature’s beauty, but your strong-willed child is now just an adorably swim-suited, sunblock-slathered strong-willed child.

This is a pic I sent my husband of my oldest refusing to leave the beach until she got her way on something. Classic her. She was as unfazed by the beautiful sunset as she was me packing up our entire setup and the other kids and starting to leave. My goodness, that kid is a fortress. (Don’t worry, I didn’t leave her. I didn’t let the -biblical/beach pun warning- SUNSET on her anger).

PRO: Swimsuits with sleeves are totally a thing.

No one is worrying about impressing girls/guys yet (see above, and please hand me that paper bag again) and tanning isn’t on their radar. It’s just like “oh cool, more mermaid print. Whatevs.” Less sunblock application. Less reapplication. Less mom-guilt in general regarding sunblock and whether or not reapplications have been appropriately applicated.

CON: No schedules (good!) = no bedtimes (not so good).

Whilst I love the freedom of a summer schedule, the mid-range kids can stay up pretty late (family) partying, and it’s a bit disappointing to get everyone quieted and jammied and tucked in, only to find out it’s 10pm and you have significantly lessened your Netflix time. Especially since you’ve been with the kids and could really use that netflixing (and that glass of wine) before it starts again.

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Luckily, the vacation pros always outweigh the cons, which ALWAYS outweigh laundry and groceries. Happy vacationing, friends!

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