Summer survival guide
The beach, the park, the back garden - summer beckons families to come out and play. Here are some tips for maximum fun, with minimal fuss.
Keep these summer essentials in the car, handy for spills, chills and summer thrills.
▪️ Wipes, plastic bags, plasters
▪️ A towel or two
▪️ Spare sun hats
▪️ Spare togs
▪️ An old blanket
Throw all these in a plastic flexi tub or bucket (which can double as a sand-play toy) and keep it in the boot of the car.
While it’s obviously important to always have some sunscreen handy, don’t store it in the car as the heat can weaken the effectiveness of the sunscreen’s ingredients.
As an island nation, we have no shortage of water to play in and around. Water Safety New Zealand advise parents to remind children never to go near water unless they are with a grown-up. Also, remember to empty paddling pools and water containers after supervised use. Read more safety tips at watersafety.org.nz.
Have flotation devices suitable for your child’s age, size and ability at the ready before you hit the water. If you’re using flotation devices from last summer, check they still fit your child and that they are in working order (check for holes and perished straps or materials).
Obviously you know this already, but we can all do with the reminder: ALWAYS supervise children in and around water. This requires an adult’s full focus, ie put down your book, magazine or phone. Be wary of distractions, even just a conversation with a person nearby, as children can get into trouble in water in a split second. When you’re around water – be it a little paddling pool or the big blue ocean – keep your eyes on your children, and your children within reach, AT ALL TIMES.
Long car journeys with small children are not for the faint-hearted. Some families set off before dawn (in the hope that children may go back to sleep for a while); others leave home in the evening, hoping children will sleep in the car and transition to bed once you arrive at your destination (not recommended if your accommodation is a tent, however!).
Aim to avoid the hottest part of the day, and anticipate lots of stops to stretch legs and even cool off with a quick swim if possible.
▪️ If you have one, a portable DVD player is worth its weight in gold on a long drive.
▪️ Water bottles for everyone
▪️ Plenty of snacks – individual bags or lunchboxes are handy
▪️ A stash of small toys and surprises in answer to 'I'm bored'
▪️ A container for carsickness
▪️ A plastic bag for rubbish
▪️ A playlist of family favourites Ideas for car games: I Spy, Spotto, Bingo, 'Who can stay silent the longest'…
Wherever you're going with the kids this summer, keep this list of summer essentials on the fridge to remind you what to pack:
▪️ Insect repellent
▪️ Togs and towels
▪️ Basic first aid supplies: plasters, tweezers, and arnica, healing and antiseptic creams
▪️ Pamol for the kids, Panadol for the grown-ups
▪️ Any prescription medications
▪️ Nappies (including swim nappies), if needed
▪️ Brolly sheets
▪️ Colouring books and pencils
▪️ Story books
▪️ Buckets and spades
▪️ Favourite toys, blankies, dummies and any other bedtime essentials
▪️ Cell phone charger
▪️ Portable blackout blinds or shade cloths
HOLIDAY AT HOME
Travelling with small children is a bit of a mission, let’s be honest. Sometimes it might be more appealing to holiday at home! Try some of these fun ‘staycation’ ideas:
▪️ Picnic dinner on the lawn
▪️ Sleep in a tent in the garden
▪️ Family sleepover in the lounge
▪️ Set up blankets and cushions under a tree for an outdoors storytime
▪️ Build the biggest blanket fort you can
▪️ Have a movie night
▪️ Go berry picking and make your own real fruit iceblocks
Instead of jamming fresh food and groceries around the million and one other things you have to fit in your car when packing for a holiday, why not order your groceries online with Online Shopping and either have it delivered to your holiday destination or pick up using the Click and Collect option when you get there. If you are used to having your meals delivered, inquire with the company to see if you can change the delivery address to your holiday home.
AS FEATURED IN ISSUE 36 OF OHbaby! MAGAZINE. CHECK OUT OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE BELOW