As we continue to live through this global pandemic, the way we live life just keeps on changing. If you are like me, you have hunkered down financially (yes my #Target, #HomeGoods, and #Amazon shopping budget has tremendously downsized), organized every room in the house (and re-organized what you already organized), changed some curtains, moved some furniture around...but that wasn't enough of a change because well now we are 5 months into the shut down. So now we start ripping out carpet and replacing it with wood laminate flooring, spackling walls and painting (wanna talk #tiktok DIY's? Yup we've done them too!!), emptying out the garage and preparing it to be remodeled as an additional dwelling area...we even had our bathroom demo'd (I'm talking jack hammer and all). While I am truly enjoying watching our house take on a whole new look, it isn't very exciting for the kids. They are used to summer being about amusement parks, beach trips, ice cream trucks, summer camps, hanging with friends, and sleepovers. While we did create an outdoor atmosphere they can enjoy here at home, they needed something more...
Rise and shine kids...we are going to the beach!! Now I must admit...it took a much needed pep talk from my husband to help me with the courage on this one. With all the conflicting information we have been receiving with regards to #COVID19, I just didn't want to make a bad decision and end up putting my kids at risk. Ya feel me??
I thought it would be a great idea to share a few things that we did to prepare ourselves mentally and physically for the day trip. (Just in case you have had conflicting feelings about taking the kids to the beach during #COVID19).
Set your boundary: We decided that if the beach had too many people we would try another day. So yes that meant driving all the way there and possibly having to turn back. Who wants to do that with 4 kids who have been stuck in the house for months?! Sounds like a recipe for disaster...so we included them in the plan to give the a sense of ownership. We were all on the same page that this trip may be a wash. Worst case scenario, we would be taking a 45 minute drive to get ice cream and pizza to go. The kids were cool with that. (This was our boundary, yours may look different #nojudgementzone).
Be at the beach when it opens: We were going on a weekend which meant there was a great possibility it would be packed!! We made sure to get there as soon as the beach opened so we could secure a great spot for our family. We also made sure to park close to the boardwalk ramp that lead to the beach to avoid the crowds.
Pack your bag with #COVID19 beach essentials: Our beach bag essentials look a little different now. Of course we packed the usual beach towels, beach blanket, sunblock, hair ties, sunglasses, change of clothes etc...but now we added hand sanitizer, wipes, napkins, bottles of water for rinsing off the sand (we didn't know if we would have access to the outdoor water spigots), and face masks. Ok...you are probably asking 'face masks on the beach??' ...we had them for just in case we would venture on the boardwalk or head into a store. We are in New Jersey and face masks are a requirement here.
Ditch the food stand and pack your lunch: Pre #COVID19, we never packed food for the beach. That was part of the trip, the boardwalk food!! To avoid crowded food stands, we packed our own goodies. I purchased a backpack cooler from #Amazon and packed it with some of our faves...different beverages (water, juice,and soda), I made some of the BEST honey ham sandwiches, and threw some snacks in (#DelMonte fruit cups with bubble fruit are a must!!).
Socially distance yourselves: We have watched a lot of news reportings showing the lack of social distancing down the shore. This was a major concern for us (hence tip #1). We made sure to set up our area away from other families and we spread our things out to give the hint that we wanted to be socially distant from others. It was great to experience other families doing the same and giving everyone their space.
These simple things worked for us...we went and had a great time!! The biggest block I had to get over was the mental block. Sure on the ride home I second guessed our parenting decision ... but hey, we all woke up healthy and have still had nothing but great health!! We have been back down the shore a few times now and we have stuck with our boundaries.
Please remember this...we have never lived through this global pandemic before. We are all learning as we go. What ever decisions we make, lets be sure to make them from a place of wisdom and not fear. Also, self compassion is essential - give yourself some!!
You may be wondering 'what about the funnel cake, fried oreos, fresh lemonade, boardwalk fries?'...we made them ourselves at home!! Make sure to check out the recipes, I will be adding them over the next week.
*If you are wondering what beach we have been frequenting, it's Atlantic City Beach, New Jersey.