By Heather Keenan

Done. The holidays are officially over. Now what?  Beach trip planning, that’s what. Nothing gets you through the cold winter months better than cranking up the computer and endlessly researching which beach house your family will be making super fun summer memories in. Because going to the beach with children is nothing, if not fun, right? Right……about 65% of the time you are there, at least. The other 35%?  That is more business trip than it is vacation. So, in an attempt to make these wonderful family trips even more wonderful, I have a few amenity suggestions for the rental companies.

1.  Kid themed welcome baskets

The torture of the car ride is over.  You are finally at the beach house.  All you want to do is unpack the car, stock the fridge, and crack open a beer. Problem is, all your offspring wants to do is run like maniacs throughout the house screaming at the top of their little lungs how much they are dying to go to the ocean. Wouldn’t it be nice for them to have something to unpack and play with, for just a few minutes, to make the transition from vehicle to house a little easier? Give them chalk, bubbles, a jump rope, anything that will make them stop and be content for 30 minutes.  PLEASE!

2.  Slipcovers for furniture, which has been laundered since the last occupants use

As adults, we sit on furniture. With our butts. Kids? They also sit on furniture. With their faces. I have no doubt that my kids rub their faces on each and every piece of furniture they come into contact with. At home, that’s fine and dandy. I know exactly what has and has not gone down on our living room furniture. Beach house, not so much. For all I know there was a border-line amazing frat party there the week before. Now, I love a good party, but I, in no way, want my kids face to rub the same couch as an undergrad’s who-knows-what has rubbed. Yes, sheets work, but before I have time to wrap those germ cushions, my four year old already knows what they taste like.

3.  Beds without comforters

I understand the appeal to make the rooms look as beachy as possible. Those flip flop comforters are out of this world cute! Here’s the thing. My kids think so, too, and they want to actually use them. They want to lay down at night and wrap up in those cute, I-have-no-idea-when-they-were-washed-last comforters. And when they are told no, they freak out. They have no idea the grossness that could be lurking in that cotton. I assure you, rental companies, mothers across the nation are bringing their own blankets for their kids to use. Help us, please, and get those funky comforters out of there!

4.  Food service

While this is a stretch, and would end up costing a fortune, it would sure be nice. Imagine getting to the beach and having a fridge stocked with your needs and a freezer with three or four frozen, fully cooked meals in it. Now, that is vacation. I am in no way a big spender, but I would absolutely splurge on this option. Plus, it would be icing on the cake to get to the beach and not have to run to the grocery store, immediately, because Johnny is losing his freaking mind that he hasn’t had milk in four hours.

5.  Nanny service

Last, but not least, nanny service. I don’t mean someone to shadow your family the whole trip, or help out with beach duty. I mean having the chance to grab an adult only dinner, or pop out for lunch and shopping one day while you are there. A drop off option would even work! Just to have a minute to relax and know that your kiddos are safe and having fun.

It is a lot to ask, I know, which is why these things are not offered. Either way, the beach, or wherever you take your family vacations, is sure to have an awesome impact on your kids lives.  o even if the conditions aren’t perfect, and at times you want to sell your kids, know that they are having fun and they will look back with fond memories, one day.

Until that day, good luck out there, family vacationers. Enjoy the ride!