SURF MUM ADVICE FOR HELPING THE KIDS SETTLE IN
WHAT OUR MEMBERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT LOOKING AFTER THE KIDS ON THE BEACH
“One thing that I’ve noticed that seems to help separation anxiety with kids that can speak is asking them as you are heading out for your surf “how many waves can I catch?” It gives them a feeling of control over the situation. “Ok I will come straight back in after I catch 3 waves” … Spoiler, they don’t actually sit there and count your waves so catch as many as you can.”
“Regularity - the kids that love surf mums the most come often and get used to it, they get to know the other kids and mums!"
“For unsettled babies and kids… Distraction!! Give them something anything else to focus on... Cuddles, calm and listen to a toddler’s needs... Re-assure them that mum will come back soon and then distract them!!
My kids’ favourite toys are the shells and sticks, taking them for walks over the rock pools to see what they can see, do inclusive activities that can entertain all of the kids or get the older children to pair up with a smaller child and help them with the toys or activity.
The best thing about Surf Mums, is that you can leave the kids with familiar people for some surf time without ever really leaving your sight... The first few times you feel a little guilty... But this fades quickly. You can always be called in quickly if your little one isn’t settling well.”
“Hide and seek and race games for the older kids are always a win”
“… Definitely the “how many waves can Mummy get” (not that Mummy ever listens to the “one wave” reply!) And also bringing some books as the kids love stopping bike riding/ scooting etc just for a bit of down time and cuddles. Getting the older kids to “help with the babies” can distract the newer yet slightly older kids. And a few games of ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf’ was always a winner.”
“Lots of snacks! And water play with a bunnings bucket and beach toys. Taking them for a little beach walk to explore or collect shells. Singing nursery rhymes for littler ones while rocking in carrier - seems to have worked so far”
“Many parents are happy using a baby carrier if it helps your bub settle, we're also happy to rock your pram or walk them around. Also, it's a little like day care, most of the time they're fine once you leave.”
“I love to sing songs for the younger kids, it always seems to be a perfect distraction. Sometimes they really are just happiest sitting on your lap, being in a carrier, or being taken for a walk. The great thing about the older kids is they tend to play together really well, but for the newbies it's super helpful to introduce them to friend or talk to them about their favourite topic (usually themselves!!!)”
“As a previous child and family worker and youth worker I was used to running games when kids need it to stimulate play or set little fun challenges to redirect attention if kids need it such as an obstacle course drawn in the sand. I have a school age kid now but always took chalk for drawing or I would draw hopscotch or hand ball and teach it or take a few toy cars and draw a car track if we were in a playground or under a surf club. A surf bucket with some water and smaller buckets is fun water play for young ones too. I would settle a kid with attention to an activity they were interested in until they were engaged and could play on their own or with the others. Once the kids got older a boogie board to slide down the dunes was a winner or they were able to engage in self-directed nature play which is a great outcome and something I am so grateful for.”
"I think it's being realistic that you won't necessarily get to have an adult conversation that isn't broken up with the other mums while you are on child minding duties. It is very busy minding the kids, especially different ages as they all have different needs and it's WORTH it!"
"[For a child over 2 years] Perhaps attend a meet up or 2 without swapping to get them used to the other kids. Check out what the group does and what you need to bring. Meeting on the beach - bring sand toys, or if meeting at a park maybe they all ride scooters, be prepared so your child can participate with the others."