Yes I say survive, as it's quite difficult to look after an almost 2 year old when listening to the peaceful sounds of the ocean. It can be challenging and rewarding at the same time. We live in London so going on holiday to a sunny climate is kind of a big deal and a luxury.
Here are a few simple tips to make life easier...
TAKE A CHEAP STROLLER. Make sure to have a cheap stroller, I did see some parents dragging their beautiful expensive buggies along the sand it really horrified me, I can not ever imagine taking my bugaboo on holiday or putting it on a flight! We got a 'Zeta Voom' from amazon for £50 which does everything. It reclines, has an extended hood, foot rest, basket, and a pocket and best of all it's light and folds in 2 seconds. We used it all the time as the sun is very exhausting and so that we could enjoy our evenings after she fell asleep.
BUY A SMALL POOL. Seriously do it, I didn't do this one and we ended up buying one from the hotel for 4x the price. We set it up right next to us so that Esra could play next to us whilst we sunbathed.
GET YOUR LITTLE ONE TO NAP. We had plenty of shade on the beach thanks to the hotels set up, they were properly set up unlike just plain umbrellas at the pool. We situated ourselves so that we could get a shady spot and a sunny spot together. Esra currently naps once a day in the afternoons, we would have breakfast and walk down to the beach and by the time it was lunch time the girl couldn't keep her eyes open. What I did for a sleeping area was bring two shezlongs (sun beds) together and lay a towel over it, (if you have a younger child you could put the mats on either sides for just in cases) We would wash her all over in the sea and then wrap her up in a towel and cuddle her to sleep which usually took about 5 mins, and she slept for 1-2 hours and missed the strong midday sun which was brilliant. However, we did have certain days where she had meltdowns so it wasn't all rosy.
PROTECT YOUR BABY - This is obvious but still needs to be stated, I used SPF50 (avene) and SPF30 (boots) for Esra, I took about 5 hats, and obviously forgot to take them to the beach sometimes so had to wrap a t-shirt around her head (see above). And, don't forget those swimming nappies!
ENTERTAIN. You saw how much stuff I was taking for the flight in this post and everything came in handy. We took LOTS of stickers to the beach, building blocks and a few other bits. We counted pebbles, made sand castles, played with seaweed leaves and drew on the sand with pebbles. Esra loved running around in circles as the waves hit her feet, seriously so beautiful for a mother to see.
TAKE THAT IPAD. Load it with favourite movies and plenty of apps. This came in particularly handy at meal times and in the evenings.
MAKE CHANGE. We miraculously managed Esra to quit her dummy a few days into the holiday. I wanted her to give it up a while back as she started requesting different coloured dummies and throwing them when she got angry (help!) But, decided the dummy would come in handy on holiday and postponed it. But the story is, I was getting ready in the evening and she walked into the bathroom and threw her dummy in the toilet *gasp* I was like "oh no" and called daddy in, he was the same and we told her it's 'yukky' now and no more dummy. She was confused and cried for a bit, but as it was a different atmosphere accepted it. So we got rid of every single dummy and that was it. Bed times became difficult as she had nothing to soothe herself with. She had her teddy but wanted to hug me alot more and as a result has become more clingy. On our return to London, she requested her dummies again thinking it was a temporary thing, but oh no, no more dummy ever! :) Dummies are for babies not big girls!
TAKE A MOMENT. Stop and enjoy your holiday. Esra had ice cream and chips everyday which she rarely does, it was so beautiful to see her discover new things and to see her personality shine through. And, don't get scared if you haven't had kids yet, it's truly precious when you have a little one and everything comes naturally and there's no need to stress. Promise!
Do you have any tips for a beach holiday with a toddler? I can't wait for our next holiday already I feel more prepared for next time! :)