Summertime is for barbecuing, soaking up some sun (responsibly), watching the football and enjoying the many music festivals and events of the season. Outdoor festivals are one of the highlights of the summer, but just because you're a parent doesn't mean that you have to miss out on all the fun. All it means is that you'll have to do some adjusting (alright, and some sacrificing as well). You may not be able to catch all the performances that you want to and you might have to throw your regular routine out the window, but taking children to festivals is totally doable – and so worth it!
With a few brilliant tips and a bit of planning, taking children to festivals can be a great family adventure and an opportunity to create wonderful memories. Not to mention it gives parents a chance to catch some of their favourite artists – just check out all the 90s musicians hitting the festival circuit this summer! But before you go, do some research on the type of festival and your options – many festivals have quieter family areas or planned children's activities, while some might not always be appropriate for younger families. But rest assured that taking children to festivals can be an amazing and stress-free experience, with some careful planning. Here's what you need to know...
1. Schedule in relaxing time
Maybe in your pre-parenting days, you could spend an entire weekend at the festival hopping from one stage to the other. But now that you're travelling as a family, it's important to schedule in some quiet time and to take things slow – remember that you don't have to be doing something all the time. With so many new sights and sounds, kids might feel slightly overwhelmed so make time every day for some quiet family time, either by your tent or in a family area of the festival.
2. But bring entertainment
Even when you're relaxing as a family, it's a good idea to have some entertainment on hand in case children get bored. There's no need to lug around bulky games and toys though – keep it simple with some crayons and colouring books or some bubbles. By all means bring a favourite toy – just make sure that it's replaceable!
3. Invest in a cart
Little legs get tired easily, so it's a good idea to bring a cart with you or see if the festival has one for hire. They're the perfect mode of transportation for little ones, plus great for carrying anything else you might need for the day. Add a pillow and a blanket for easy napping.
4. Break the rules
At home, little ones may have a set nap time and only eat proper meals for dinner but at a festival you should prepare to be a little more flexible about their schedule and routines. Don't panic. The world won't end if they only eat doughnuts for dinner one evening (but do emphasise that this is a treat – not to be confused with a new normal!).
5. Pack snacks
Speaking of baked treats for dinner, don't forget to bring an array of snacks and drinks. You can never have too many bottles of water or too many easy-to-eat snacks. There's nothing worse than finally getting the whole family settled for your favourite band only to have hungry kids on your hands. Queues for food at festivals are always terrible – skip the hassle and keep a selection of snacks and drinks on you at all times.
6. Essential kit
Things you won't regret having too much of: baby wipes, suncream, hats, sunglasses, tissues and insect spray. And remember that concerts are loud – protect little one's ears with ear plugs or noise-blocking headphones.
7. Safety precautions
Write your mobile phone number on children's arms or label their clothing with your contact info in case they get lost. Depending on how old your child is, talk to them about what the people who work at the event look like and what to do if you get separated.
8. Pimp your pushchair
Make your pushchair visible at night by adding lots of lights and glow-in-the-dark stickers – no one wants to wake up to a knocked-over pram. And if things turn rainy (which they inevitably will), consider using a sling or back carrier instead – pushing a pram through the mud is hard work! Find more genius pushchair tips here.
9. Bring layers
Temperatures tend to drop in the evening, so pack some extra layers (girl's sweatshirts here) and waterproof gear for kids to make sure they stay warm and dry. All that running around in the grass and fields translates to children going through a lot of clothing.
10. Travel time
Consider arriving at the festival early so that you can get the best spot for your tent, and leave early to avoid the crowds.
11. Pack a bucket
Keep a bucket nearby for those midnight wees or 'can't-hold-it-in' moments. They WILL happen...
12. Bring your own glow sticks
Skip the long lines and crazy prices by packing your own glow sticks. Kids will love playing with them and you'll save so much time and money by bringing your own.
Do you have any top tips for taking kids to festivals this summer? Let us know on social media by using #goodliving.