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Beach Daze

Mia's school is doing "Beach Day" this month, where the children are encouraged to come to school in their bathing suits. Someone is sure to tell me I'm over-analyzing, but I can't figure out how to make this appropriate.

I think bikinis are inappropriate for three year olds. (Just my opinion, let's not fight.) Mia wears one-piece bathing suits, which has the added benefit of me not spending the entire time hauling the bottom of her suit up because my child is skinny and buttless. Mia cannot possibly wear a one-piece bathing suit to school, because at some point she is going to have to pee and getting into and out of a bathing suit takes serious intervention.

I went looking for a tankini, no luck. I did buy a cover-up, which was one of the suggested "costumes" from the school, and also found a *gasp* bikini that has a more boy-short cut bottom, a bikini top, and then a short-sleeved swim shirt to match. But I'm torn. If I let her wear the bikini with the swim shirt to school, she's going to want to wear the bikini to the pool and beach this summer, but I'm not going to let her. I was thinking I could put her in a tank top and shorts and the cover-up, but what if part of Beach Day is running through the sprinkler, or something, and she's the only kid without a bathing suit.

I was mostly prepared to deal with the big stuff when I had these kids, but I never realized I would be spending two weeks agonizing over Beach Day.

What would your three year old girl wear to preschool Beach Day? Have I missed the perfect option?

Comments (49)

I agree wholeheartedly! If I had a little girl (instead of 2 boys), this is what I'd get for her:

a little pricier, but solves all the problems!

Personally, I am annoyed with the schhol for even putting this on in the first place! Does no one there have a daughter of their own to foresee these dilemmas?! I am right there with you re: all your concerns. In fact, I'm even a little creeped out. I guess a tankini is the best option. But a cute terry coverup or something over it seems ideal. note, I would not even blame you if you complained to the school!

When my daughter's pre-school had "Beach-Day", I sent her in a sundress with her bathing suit (onepiecethankyouverymuch), water shoes & towel in a cute little beach-bag-tote-ish sort of thing. Her teachers changed her into her suit for party and changed her back into her regular clothes after.
They had a sprinkler & wading pool with toss-the-sponge games, little squirt toys, and a slip&slide. Great fun was had by all.

I'm with kati. What is the school thinking?
Apparently, they are not thinking at all.

First of all, they could have come up with a "day" that does not require questionable attire.
Second, no one there is thinking of the one-piece bathroom predicament for the girls.
Third, if there *is* water-play, what are they gonna do with wet kids?


my daughter's school has beach day too. i never really thought much of it but she has both a one piece and a bikini. i was thinking i'd just send her in the bikini and shorts and her cover up to prevent any bathroom issues.
i guess i'm weird but i think little kids look adorable in bikinis. but the main reason she has one is that every time she gets in the pool she has to go to the bathroom, even if she goes before hand. it never fails.

Two words: Lands End

Most Sears now how a Lands End store in as store. Their tankinis are a godsend!

In the meantime...there's nothing wrong with sending Mia in the board shorts and sun shirt sans bikini top.

What makes me nuts about the child bikinis (besides the obvious, I'm talking functionality) is that they end up around their necks - armpits really - b/c there is no real way to hold them "in place"... I think it's inappropriate that they MAKE bikinis for anyone under... 18 (ok unchannelling grandma, maybe 12). But my girls LOVE them [sigh] if I fight too hard, there is backlash.

I'm assuming the cover-up is a "sun-shirt" or "swim-shirt"? (looks like a t-shirt) I make my kids wear those anyway, over top of one-piece, bikini or tankini. I also make the boy wear it with his swim shorts. Saves a little on the sunscreen nagging. And washing off in the sprinkler.

Anyway - you could let her wear the cover-up & bikini combo & then just say that's the rule for wearing bikinis. OR keep searching for a tankini and call it a bikini instead - it's still two-piece!

I think the beach day is a great idea. She will have a great time. I don't think you have to over-think it. Besides, it's not like they suggested "fashion model runway day where the girls prance and the boys get to watch" I'd have trouble with that.

Beach Day indeed, I'd be irritated all to hell at the logistics involved. For your teeny girl I wonder if someone's invented a tankini with suspenders...

I've got an aqua/orange/pink/white flowered tankini top from Gymboree, plus a pink/purple/blue/green/brown striped tankini top from Angel Beach. They've got traditional underpant-like bottoms and matching terry coverups. All are size 4, still with their tags on and if you want to borrow them, I'll drop them in your mailbox.

I am so with you. Bathing suits to school? even as young as Mia? No way. I would send her in shorts and short with floppy hat, towel, flip flops, cute bag and sunglasses.

Oh! Did I mention the matching hats? Adorable!

We had the same problem. I got my daughter some boys swim shorts and a girls tankini top and or little rash guard. Covered and ready for the water

Wow... My daughter is just about to turn two and I haven't even thought of this ever becoming an issue for school. I wholeheartedly agree that a bikini would be inappropriate. Sure, its a cute idea, but the thought of... I can't even say it! Maybe I'm over-reacting, but having a husband that is a police officer, I hear all kinds of disturbing things.

I"m sorry. I guess I'm no help since I have no suggesions. I'll just come back later and check out the suggestions of others. In the meantime, I'll just obsess over this with you!

Maybe she just doesn't go to school for Beach Day?

Tankini sounds like a good solution, but yeah I think there should definitely be a change of regular clothes - the daycare probably doesn't want to deal with twenty cases of swimmer's itch ;)
I'm also quite surprised they didn't think of the possible complications!

(oh and some of those Land's End ones are awfully cute!)

Uhhhhhhh my kid wore bikinis since she was 1. Sorry *shrug* but I think it's adorable and cute. But I'm totally NOT like one of those pageant moms. Now that Valentina turned 8, I do have a problem with some of the clothing at stores like Justice. I don't want her looking like a little 16 year old, but I just don't have an issue with bikinis.

Perhaps someone has already asked this, but why can't she wear the bikini shorts and swim shirt to swim in this summer? Then you wouldn't have to ever mess with the one-piece vs. bathroom dilemma. Plus there's less skin to cover with sunscreen.

Yeah, that seems a little odd to have them wear swimsuits all day (granted, my niece insists on doing it but that's a different story all together). What if it's chilly that day? Not to mention the pee issue.

I was thinking of calling the school and asking about your concerns and seeing what they'd do in regards to one-piece + potty time. They MUST have dealt with this before right? This can't be new.

Man, this was never covered in those parenting books.

What if you don't show her the bikini top and just put her in the swim shirt and bottoms? she can wear it all summer if she wants to that way.

I agree that little ones dont need to be in bikinis!

Anticipating the potty training summer ahead, I opted for a two-piece for Will, but was able to find a cute tankini that is practically a one-piece.

But "Beach Day" with bathing suits and water fun does seems like a challeging day for all involved - especially the supervisors!

So glad I had a boy when we did this! I say swim shirt and boy shorts or regular swim bottoms. a lot of coverage and still able to go pee. ;)

That is a logistical nightmare - it would have been nice to know EXACTLY what the plan was for that day.

That being said I agree with the whole bikini thing and bought this at Old Navy for my daughter and as a bonus they should only be 8$ per set in the american stores:

and as a side note I am much jealous of the selection that Old Navy online has - we don't get even half of that in Canada - nor will they ship here. BOO HISS!

That is a logistical nightmare - it would have been nice to know EXACTLY what the plan was for that day.

That being said I agree with the whole bikini thing and bought this at Old Navy for my daughter and as a bonus they should only be 8$ per set in the american stores:

and as a side note I am much jealous of the selection that Old Navy online has - we don't get even half of that in Canada - nor will they ship here. BOO HISS!

That is a logistical nightmare - it would have been nice to know EXACTLY what the plan was for that day.

That being said I agree with the whole bikini thing and bought this at Old Navy for my daughter and as a bonus they should only be 8$ per set in the american stores:

and as a side note I am much jealous of the selection that Old Navy online has - we don't get even half of that in Canada - nor will they ship here. BOO HISS!

Our family struggles with the same issues...we would like modest-ish suits, the kiddos have no junk in the trunk to hold up bikini bottoms, we are super-pale blondes with blue eyes, and then there's the whole going-to-the-bathroom issue in the wet one-piece. We have gone to the rashguard shirt with cap sleeves and regular bottoms (I like LandsEnd and Target has a few, too). The boy short style doesn't work for my skinny-mini. She has some tankini top suits and then one suit that my mom bought that has a sports-bra type top and bikini bottoms with more coverage but it's not a tankini. Who knew bathing suit season could give a mama such a headache? And don't even get me started on why there has to be scary skulls on all the swim trunks for 7 year old boys...

This is what kids wear in australia:

Maybe that will give you some ideas or options?

If I had a daughter, she wouldn't be wearing a bikini to Beach Day. If it was a morning-only program, I would likely send her in a one-piece regardless of the potty problem, since there can't possibly be that much peeing involved in a 2-1/2 hour class (and also, it wouldn't be my problem - it would be the teachers' problem!).

As an alternative to the one-piece, I second (or third? or fourth?) the idea that wearing the bikini bottom and the swim shirt is a good compromise. She doesn't need to know it came with a bikini top.

I agree, board shorts or bikini bottoms with a really cute rash guard shirt. Since many of them have SPF, it could even help protect her at the pool this summer.

I don't think you're overreacting at all. My daughter wore a bikini when she was 2 & 3, but this was at home only. She's now 8 and angry that I refuse to buy one for her. If I knew for sure she would only wear it in our private backyard, I would be ok with it, but I'm not comfortable with her being in one in public. However, she can't wear a one piece because she was cursed with a long torso like I was. I have never been able to find a one piece that properly fits me. So she wears tankinis. I know you said you can't find one for Mia though. I would probably go the tank/short route and if she gets wet, she gets wet (send a change of clothes).

Side note: I was getting my hair cut at the salon a few weeks ago and I heard a woman say, "I have to get my daughter into a tanning booth quick. We're going to Mexico soon and I want her to look sexy in her bathing suit." I thought it was kind of odd...and then my hairdresser whispered that the daughter in question is 11. REALLY!? You want your 11 year old daughter to look SEXY?!

We did the tankiini. I do not like bikiinis for little girls. When the school had water fun day,they took a change of clothes. Good luck

I would go for board shorts with a tankini top. And what exactly is the school thinking? PJ day, sure, swimsuit? Maybe not so much.

Beth -
We have one of the boyshorts/bikini top/swim shirt combos from Target that my oldest wore for the past two years and she just always wore it with the swim shirt (or just the swim shirt). The bikini top was ridiculous. I know she doesn't really have anything to be covering up...but it just slid around and was a mess. Plus with the swim shirt we never had any burnt shoulders. I would sunscreen her all up before she put on the shirt, and then not have to worry about reapplying on back and shoulders all afternoon.

Looking for a similar one for my youngest this year...I really liked the boy shorts...they are cute!

Lands End tankini - will look just like a one piece but she can easily go to the bathroom.

Also, when my youngest had "pool day" she went to school in surf shorts and a rash guard. Worked just fine for running through sprinklers and playing around water.

Stay away from Target two pieces- those look like string bikinis for toddlers!

That's so weird, beach day. I mean I guess it's cute, sure, whatever, but it is a nightmare for parents.

I've always had bikinis, even when younger, because I've always been a long-torso'd nightmare. One pieces tend to... um... hurt, and never fight right. And this was before tankinis... my mom went out of her way to find the most sports bra-like, covered up one she could. We would spend hours looking. I couldn't have a "proper" bikini until I was 14.

Why am I still talking? I don't know. I agree with everyone, just don't let her know a bikini top ever existed. Toss it. Let her think the swim shirt and the bottoms are what always was.

im all for board shorts. and kids don't mind going in the water with a little clothes on. i would call the school and check on any planned water activities.

I say - dress her in shorts and a t-shirt and pack the bathing suit in case of water play. Then she won't have to sit in a wet bathing suit afterwards, too.

OMG, I think that is INSANE and like the worst idea ever.

With that being said, I would send Lady off in her ONE PIECE (because we also do not believe in bikinis for anyone under the age of 30) (you think I'm kidding?) and a cute cover up, since that is an approved "costume" and let the teachers deal with having to peel her out of the one piece when she has to pee.

They brought it on themselves by suggesting a three year old come to school in a bathing suit. Learn the lesson, Teachers.

Failing that, I MIGHT think that the boy short/swim tee shirt combo could possibly be ok, as long as the "boy shorts" go down to her knees and the "swim shirt" is also a long sleeved turtleneck. With a hood.

Interesting topic. I worked at a childcare centre in a really hot place where water play days were not at all uncommon. As far as I know none of the parents put this amount of thought into it.

Go for the one piece, if that's what you're comfortable with. Her teacher can help her deal with getting in and out of it.

I would suggest some combo of rashie/tankini and shorts/boardies. I am surprised the school doesn't have some kind of rule about sun protection. We couldn't let the kids outside without sleeves, so no way bikinis were an option (unless they were covered up).

(To whoever said don't send her to school that day: um, no.)

This would annoy the crap out of me. Why make things so complicated, preschool? I'd probably go with the board shorts/shirt/sunglasses option and send in a one-piece suit in case there is water action.

Interesting aside: I used to think there was nothing more adorable than a little girl in a bikini with her belly hanging out. Or, even better, a little girl just in swim bottoms (think the Coppertone girl). The innocence of it is so charming to me. But I've since been poisoned by the "pedophiles will see your children! OMG!" people and now...sigh. It's a one-piece for my daughter.

I wish for a more innocent world.

I almost gave up while I was scrolling through the comments but then I saw Missy. I think this is being made into a way bigger issue then it needs be. Actually, I'm surprised it's an 'issue' at all.
If it were a question of just asking about what type of swim wear would be easiest with potty training, etc., I could see. But when questions of "appropriateness" come up, I rolled my eyes so hard I think I hurt them.
If anyone here over the age of 30 didn't run through the sprinklers at the age of 3 wearing nothing but a diaper or a pair of panities, I'd be shocked. They didn't even make bathing suits that small back then, let alone the extensive range of choices we have now.
And so what if she's in the only one without a bathing suit? send her with an extra pair of shorts and a tank top. First of all, they aren't going to have dozens of kids sitting around in wet suits all day so changing would have to be an option no matter what she wears. Secondly, are we really that desperate to make our children out to be just like everyone else? Is that the message we want to send? They aren't going to have fun unless they are dressed just like their classmates? That's going to get way expensive when she's in high school...

Put her in what fits and what she likes and send her with an extra change of clothes for when she's done.

I have no idea if I am repeting something already said... as there are 45 other comments and I just dont have the time to read them all!
But I would suggest a uv suit that is either one with a zip up the front ... or a two piece uv suit... as that will be easy for her to get in and out off when toileting and provides protection from the sun and covers from sholder to just above knee they also dry quickly if they do intend on getting the kids wet on beach day.
Good luck with finding the right choice for you both ... I totally agree with no Bikini though!

I don't think they thought this through. Think they just thought it would be fun and sprinklers for the kids. I like the Lands End Tankini suggestion and a cover-up.

Pajama day is the latest thing. Luckily, it hasn't hit my son's school, just a friends.

Happy Mother's Day.

I say if the school is giving this as an option they have to realize how much a PITA it is to deal with one piece suits and are willing to deal.

Happy Mother's day.

First off, send your child to school in a swimsuit? Completely insane. However, Target does sell some cute surfer type tops with the boy short bottoms. Water proof and very modest!

I'm seconding (or thirding?) the Target surfer bathing suit option - it's a cute bathing suit of a t-shirt and boy shorts, so two piece but no toddler booty action (speaking of inappropriate toddler clothing - what is up with all the toddler whore halloween costumes - sexy toddler witches and rock stars and ewwwww!). I take my baby to the beach in her surfer ware simply because there is more cover up for her precious skin anyway.

I totally agree with you! Myself,I would send her in the one piece and tell the teachers that they need to help her when she needs to use the bathroom. My son is in pre-k and for valentines day (which I personally detest anyway), they had the little girls sit on the boys lap for a picture. I had a FIT! They are 4 and 5 years old! I think I would feel the same way about beach day. I think in the schools they are pushing this stuff waaay to early! Or maybe I'm just getting old! lol!

Bikini bottom, swim shirt top (I assume the bikini top is unnecessary).

I think I'd put her in shorts and a tank top, with the beach cover-up over it.

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