Six tips for better beach etiquette for parents

It’s 100 degrees outside, and families flock to the beach with the aim of spreading out, cooling off, relaxing, reading trashy novels and eating bad food. And, oh yeah, maybe watch the children play. That’s what a beach vacation is all about, right? Unplugging from responsibilities?

I just came home from a long weekend at the ocean with close friends who spend a lot of time at the beach every summer.  They said a lot of people adopt that same Jeff Spicoli frame of mind once their toes hit the sand.  It’s as if some people get so caught up in the beach experience, they lose their manners; simple etiquette goes out the window and next thing you know otherwise mild mannered families are kicking sand in each other’s faces.  Following are six not always obvious rules to observe to ensure your next family beach vacation doesn’t turn into an episode of Jersey Shore.

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  • Observe personal space 1 of 6
    Observe personal space
    Maintaining of minimum of three feet of distance from the nearest family is just good neighborliness. Nothing conveys hostility like planting an umbrella inches from another person's face. Sandy towels should be shaken off far from the crowds since no one wants sand in their chicken salad. And stepping around rather than on someone's beach blanket or towel is always appreciated.
  • Don’t feed the seagulls 2 of 6
    Don't feed the seagulls
    Some people think seagulls are graceful, pretty creatures; others think they are rats with wings. Don't made assumptions about which side of the seagull divide your neighbors are on by luring a flock of the pooping scavengers to your area with cheese curls.
  • Go ahead and borrow beach toys, but ask first 3 of 6
    Go ahead and borrow beach toys, but ask first
    It's common courtesy to let kids play with other kids' beach toys, but it's best not to assume — ask first if Johnny can have a turn with another child's plastic bucket and shovel.
  • Play nice 4 of 6
    Play nice
    Common beach games like football, Frisbee, paddleball should be played where no one — especially the little ones — will get hurt. And best to leave cut throat competitiveness at home.
  • Remember lifeguards aren’t babysitters 5 of 6
    Remember lifeguards aren't babysitters
    Some people think the presence of lifeguards means the kids can frolic while mom and dad can zone out — take a nap, head back to the condo, become totally lost in 50 Shades of Grey. Know this: The lifeguards' job is to rescue swimmers, not babysit them. Guards become supremely irritated plucking errant children from the water only to find the parents sitting away from shore in order to perfect their suntan.
  • Control your shade apparatuses 6 of 6
    Control your shade apparatuses
    To display a tent or umbrella and sit close to the water, common courtesy says arrive early to claim the desired space. Otherwise, there is a risk of coming across like the guy who wears a giant sombrero to a crowded movie theater then wonders why he keeps getting pelted with popcorn. If you opt to collapse your umbrella, remove it from its stand altogether and lay it in the sand. This way, you don't interfere with the sight line of the guy behind trying to mind his toddler on the shore. Most importantly, make sure your beach umbrella is properly installed. A careless installation combined with a strong wind can turn an umbrella into a dangerous projectile.

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