I am lucky to live near the beach so it is one of my favourite places to explore with my toddler. There are so many new sights and sounds, and walking on uneven surfaces is great practice. However I have learnt the hard way from experience that it isn’t an easy place to be, so here I am sharing some of the mistakes I made, so you can avoid them and have a fun stress free day at the beach.1. Don’t assume just because your toddler likes playing in a sandpit at home they will love the beach. The sand at home came from a shop and is lovely and soft and fine. It can just be brushed off easily. The sand at the beach is much more sticky, and my toddler dug her hands into it, didn’t like it sticking, then wanted me to clean them, only to repeat a zillion times.2. Wet wipes are not the usual miracle product they are everywhere else. Trying to wipe sand off with something wet just makes it stick even worse. Instead pack some nice dry cotton wool, or lots of bottled water for proper rinsing.3. Just because lots of other parents seem to have their prams right down on the beach don’t think it is easy. They might have super off road prams or a few family members to carry it. I ventured alone and got bogged in the soft sand just about at the point I realised it was going to be as hard to turn back as to carry on. Rocking it back onto just two wheels helped a bit and pulling from the front was a bit easier but I was a hot sweaty mess with a sore back by the time we got back to the car.4. Put suncream on before you go, and have a spray bottle to reapply. Trying to rub cream onto a wriggly toddler is impossible at the best of times, but when they are covered in sand they will be extra determined to squirm away.5. Keep away from the seagulls. I’ve arrived early a few times to avoid the crowds but found the beach covered in seagulls before too many people have scared them off. They might like squarking at 5am but let me tell you seagulls are not morning lovers. My little girl loves chasing birds so she runs towards them. Any sensible birds fly away but seagulls, especially young ones stand their ground, so then I’m chasing after her hoping they don’t peck her if she gets too close. Then the second you open a picnic they are swooping in for a stolen sambo.6. Don’t go if you are likely to need a big nappy change. My first time on the sand and within minutes of arriving I heard the tell tale rumbles. Changing a wriggly toddler at home is one thing, but when every time they cone into contact with sand it sticks, its very hard not to end up with half the beach in their clean nappy.7. No matter how hot it is do not be tempted to buy an icecream. At home icecream can fall on the floor and still get eaten. At the beach where the surface is uneven it will get dropped, and covered in sand. Then you either have an upset toddler or they will still insist on eating it and you’ll be worried what all that sand is doing to their digestive system (and yes it does come out the other end I am informed). Save the icecream for somewhere sand free on the way home in celebration for a successful day out.8. Don’t plan to visit friends or family on the way home. Even when changed into clean dry clothes sand will still mysteriously appear so unless they don’t mind having sand in their house probably best to visit after a bath.So, I hope that helps you have a lovely day at the beach, or if I’ve put you off going maybe find a nice beach with a grassy park where you can enjoy the view without venturing onto the sand. Let me know how your first trip to the beach went, I’d love to hear if there’s anything I’ve missed.