Nicole Warren is an elementary teacher currently on an extended maternity leave. She is living with her family in the Grand Cayman while her husband completed med school. While her family has adjusted to the heat, it has taken some time. Read on to hear about some of her obstacles that she faced when trying to get outdoors in the Grand Cayman with two young kids and she overcame these obstacles. Connect with Nicole Warren on Instagram !
We have found our move to the Grand Cayman Challenging The constant summer heat throughout the summer has made outdoor play difficult. It is HOT.
We moved to Grand Cayman because my husband got accepted into Medical School. It was a big decision for us for many reasons including being away from our friends and family. We are managing the many challenges that come with moving away including the difficulty of leaving winter behind as we are snow loving, outdoorsy Vancouverites that decided to pick up and move to a tropical climate.
We have found our move to the Grand Cayman Challenging The constant summer heat throughout the summer has made outdoor play difficult. It is HOT. We also do not have a vehicle which makes it difficult to access the child friendly places that are spread out and not on a bus route. They are also very expensive places to take your kids.
To be fair, with the unpleasant also comes the pleasant. Having this beautiful Caribbean water to cool off in extreme heat usually makes the experience of living in the Grand Cayman enjoyable enough for us to come back again the next day, and the next …
Here is a list of several challenges that come with living or vacationing in the Grand Cayman with young children followed by tips to help your young family enjoy living or taking a vacation in an extremely hot climate:
New Baby: (0-6 months)
Challenge: Sleeping a baby outside in the heat. When our baby was very young, going to the beach was not my favourite. (I’m talking 0-6 months). He was taking 3-4 cat naps a day, which means that sunset, AKA family beach time when the sun isn’t too strong, was compromised by the need for a nap. Well, I’ve learned that not all babies sleep well outside. Mine being one of them.
So what’s a mom to do? Enter the carrier. You might be thinking DUH. However wearing a baby in already sweaty weather can be downright unpleasant. I found our baby didn’t sleep well when he was so hot. Then when he would wake up we both were soaked with sweat and then he needed to breastfeed immediately to regain his fluids to avoid extreme dehydration.
Solution: To help ease the pain of the heat my baby and shared an ice pack covered in a muslin blanket. It made baby wearing much more tolerable for us both. Since my little one switched to two long naps instead of 4 cat naps (around 5 months), things started to become easier as I could bring the kids to the beach without worrying so much about sleep.
Big Baby (6 -12 months)
Challenge: Snack time can be difficult on the beach. As my little one started holding food himself, I would get frustrated with the constant sand that would land on the food. It seemed impossible to wipe off with wipes or a cloth which resulted in a lot of wasted food.
Solution: When my munchkin started solids, I would bring the bumbo seat to the beach and it worked great to feed him his mush. It allowed us to stay an extra hour or so of much needed outdoor playtime.
I also learned from a seasoned Caribbean mom friend how a bucket of ocean water can be handy. We used a bucket of ocean water to clean sandy hands and wipe mouths. We even used this method for snacks like mango or apple slices. There may be a mild salty flavour but my kids have never seemed too bothered by the extra salt.
Reusable food pouches are also an easy way to feed a baby on the go or at the beach. Even better is when I take the time to make my own and I know exactly what ingredients my baby is eating.
Challenge: Having a baby on the move and trying to occupy his needs.
Solution: Dig a hole. My little man is at the stage where he always wants to be standing up. I try to help him as much as I can but when I need to put him down at home, I’m so thankful to have an exersaucer so that he can play on his own. Some beach goers bring their exersaucers to the beach but without a car bringing an exersaucer to the beach was not an option for me.
Instead I made my own version; a deep, narrow hole that is about chest height when baby is standing. It worked great. Baby can people and play with any toys that are set up around the edge. It is also perfect height for baby to eat half the beach. If this is a concern for you, just stick a towel in front of your baby’s chest where their hands rest. It likely won’t contain all the sand but will certainly help! Mine liked to chomp on the towel too J
Challenge: A toddler that resists sunscreen. Every Day
Solution: We suit up our toddler in UV protection swim clothes which minimizes the amount of sunscreen we have to use.
Challenge: Trying to keep a toddler hydrated in the heat.
Solution: A waterbottle with lots of ice. This helps the water to stay cool and more refreshing to drink.
Challenge: Exploring outdoors with no bathroom nearby.
Solution: My husband taught our son that peeing basically anywhere you see grass, trees, bushes etc is acceptable to pee. Our son rarely gets stressed if he isn’t close to a bathroom. Most moms in Caymon tend to teach their little ones to go and stand ankle deep in the ocean to go pee.
Challenge: A toddler that CANNOT swim
Solution: Use a floatation device. My top pick is The Puddle Jumper by Stearns. It is a great option for moms of two or more kids to give extra protection for their kids that are splashing and playing in the waves.
Challenge: Sand that gets everywhere and that you DO NOT want to bring home.
Solution: Multiple options, depending on scenario.
If driving with two or more adults – After rinsing off in the ocean, you can pack up the beach bag and carry your baby, bag, towels and toddler to the car. Then put the kids directly into their carseats without worrying about putting shoes back on and de-sanding the kids.
If driving alone – fill a bucket with ocean water and once off the beach, take turns dipping everyone’s feet and hands in the bucket
Corn Starch – helps get rid of the remainder of the sand. Sprinkle on top and brush off.
Any other tips for getting outdoors in extreme heat with kids? Comment below!