Now, once you’re at the beach or the pool, any ideas about being in the water? Former lifeguard and local Mom Kim Sheeley reflects, “Summers were always spent at the lake or in a pool when I was a kid. It was a natural transition for me to become a lifeguard and swim instructor in my teens. Now as a Mom of two young children, 6 and 3 years old, that time in my life has really stuck with me.
“I know that the very first lesson to becoming a swimmer is to put your face in the water. This can take time for some kids, but offering shallow water where they can get comfortable with their face in the water and blow bubbles has been a key step. From there the progression to being prone in the water is natural. This has helped keep swim gear to a minimum for us. Goggles are pretty much the only thing we take in our beach bag when heading out to go swimming. They really help the kids’ comfort level with the water.”
Former lifeguard Jay Friedman reminds us, “My advice would be: ‘Keep an eye on your kids – don’t assume the lifeguards are going to see everything!’”
Holly Goodin, homeschooling Mom of four, brings gear for water activities: “We carry a book about identifying sea creatures that we capture. We always bring small cups and containers (labeled with names prior to going) to hang onto any treasures found on the beach.”
My Mom, Mary Chase, likes to pack wading shoes in the beach bag. And Burdick adds, “Boogie boards! Gotta have a boogie board!”
At the end of the day, Goodin has a favorite beach bag item: “Top of the list is baby powder! When the kids are all done playing in the sand and have more sand attached to them than what is being left behind at the beach, I sprinkle baby powder on them, rub it in and all the sand magically falls off – and they smell good too!”
After reading all of those great suggestions, would you like to hear a beach bag confession? Carie Gonzales, “SLP, Mom to two, ex-lifeguard and wannabe beach bum” insists that the perfect beach bag is never perfect. “I’m the Mom that forgets half of what I should have in my swim bag,” she admitted. “In my late-teen lifeguarding days, all I had was baby oil and iodine. After a skin cancer scare, I’m loaded with sunscreen, sun sticks for the face, a hat for everyone, big beach towels, trashy magazines, swim toys/goggles and snacks. Except, like I said, I always forget at least one thing. This week it has been the goggles to swim lessons two of three days. Last week it was the water bottles. It’s never the trashy mag. Thank goodness for good friends to help me overcome my shortcomings and offer to share their crackers and blueberries.”
Speaking of which, Quinn got back to me with a few additions: “I forgot to mention that my bag also has candy wrappers, crumbs and hair ties in the bottom of it.”
Two of my own personal must-haves are wipes and swimming eardrops. I know, I mention wipes in every What’s in My Bag write-up, but I really do carry them everywhere. Last week, they were perfect for cleaning the seagull doo off my windshield when we left Robert Moses State Park Beach.
I imagine many of us relate to Sutton’s perspective: “We love going to the beach! It’s such quality time, and you don’t have to say ‘No’ a lot. There aren’t a lot of things to break at the beach. All we do is sit in the water, play in the sand, chase seagulls, collect shells and chill!”
Oh, this just came in from Quinn: “Sorry to add to the list again, but I actually looked closer and discovered that I have a robust amount of gravel that my daughter Josie calls her ‘crystals and rock collection.’ So…thanks for having me look in my bag. I was wondering why it was heavy!”
Make way for duck banks
“I think giving, just like saving, needs to be a habit,” explains Terence Ward from New Paltz. And he’s helping our family to do the same. Ward bought a collection of iconic rubber-duck coin banks at a local discount store to pass along to interested friends, families and businesses. The intent? For folks to fill their banks with coins and then donate the contents to Family of New Paltz, sponsors of the annual rubber duck race during the New Paltz Regatta.
Our family loves this idea because the bank sits right on our countertop, so it is easy to remember to drop change into it, and the visual reference of the duck is a clear connection to the charity to which we’re donating. Through this one thoughtful gesture, Ward has helped our family make giving as much of a habit as saving.
Ward explains, “When the economy turned south, a lot of people got scared and gave less. I had to convince myself to give something regularly, no matter how small, because once you stop it’s hard to find the money to start again. When I saw these duck banks I immediately thought of Family. That kind of strong visual cue is great for building a habit, so I bought a few to give out to people. I noticed that people who were ready to say ‘No’ changed their minds when I mentioned saving with their kids. It’s a life lesson that they wanted to pass on. One creative friend of mine decorated a slew of ducks and convinced shopkeepers to put them on the counter. I’m not bold enough to ask, nor creative enough to decorate, so that was another direction it could not have gone without help.”