As a child, I spent many glorious summers on the Latvian Baltic Sea coast, swimming, building sand castles, and fighting a losing battle against turning lobster-red. Bringing my own kids to the seaside in Germany, I couldn’t help but notice that Germans do a few things differently. For one, I cannot believe how much stuff people, particularly parents, bring to the beach. What stuff, you may wonder? Let me present to you the essentials in:
The quirks of German parenting: the beach edition
Build up the Strandmuschel
Apparently, the first thing you should do when you arrive at the seaside is build up a tent that will protect you from two things inseparable from a beach experience – the sun and the wind. These beach shelters, known as Strandmuschel – beach shells, seem to be even more popular than the Strandkörbe – the hooded beach chairs that line every German beach.
Ensure ultimate sun protection
While the Germans have no problem with letting young kids run around butt naked, a longer beach visit is all about protecting against sunburn. Everyone applies loads of sunscreen, the higher the SPF rating the better, and the kids get dressed in special sun protective clothing with sun hats that also cover their necks.
If your kid gets sunburn on the beach, you are clearly an irresponsible parent.
Bring your own entertainment
German parents never forget to bring the right gear to keep their little ones busy on the beach. The kids arrive well equipped with sand toys for building giant sand castles as well as water toys for surrounding them with deep moats.
Pack the right snacks
I’m already impressed with the healthy and varied snacks German moms bring to the playground. Their beach game takes it to a new level. Families arrive on the beach with giant coolers filled with meticulously prepared snacks and, of course, lots of water to keep hydrated.
Clearly, I need to go shopping if I don’t want to stand out among German parents on the beach.