It’s certainly a challenging experience with little ones especially if the weather’s bad.
More endurance than enjoyment.
But still we do it.
Come rain or shine.
We keep going back for more.
There is nothing quite like it.
WE LOVE IT!
As I was packing for an ‘easy life’ with the kids at our next festival I was thinking about tips I would give a friend doing it for the first time and thought I’d write them down.
If you’ve never been to a festival with kids, don’t let this put you off. It’s a fantastic experience that your little ones will remember FOREVER.
So here are my 10 tips for taking kids to festivals (and having fun!)
1. Prepare for EVERYTHING – The UK has such unpredictable weather so why do we have so many great outdoor events? Everyone wants to bask in summer sunshine but the truth is that you can experience 4 seasons before you’ve even crawled out of your sleeping bag. Hot, cold, wet, windy. Basically, prepare for EVERYTHING. Keep a bag in the car for WET weather stuff with an extra set of clothes for everyone (you probably won’t need them but you will be grateful if your tent gets washed away!)
2. Go with friends – Others with kids of similar ages if possible. It makes life so much easier especially for hanging around camp (something we never did before kids). Stuff can get stressful if something unexpected happens so friends are great to help out and calm the situation. If you are used to late nights and don’t want to drag the kids round then at least you can take turns going out while your partner watches the kids with some company back at camp.
3. Pack your imagination not your gadgets – Keep kids occupied with made up games. Forget expensive gadgets that you’ll just worry about and take a few small things like balloons, bubbles, an inflatable ball (globes are great), pencil & paper.
4. Pack essentials – comforters, nappies, medicine, etc, etc, the list goes on! I know it’s obvious but I once bumped in to a mum who was freaking out because she’d forgotten Aptimel follow-on milk and her 1 year old absolutely refused anything else at bed time. They were about to leave a festival they’d paid £300 for just because of this 1 little set back. Luckily for her we had a few cartons so helped out – aren’t we nice!?
5. Break the rules – We’ve never been ones for routine (may explain a lot). But if you are. Screw them up for the weekend and enjoy yourself. Kids will have the best time seeing you have fun. They are far more resilient and adaptable than they get credit for. My two dealt remarkable well recently with dinner of chocolate, cheese string and banana when we arrived at the pub we were camping at to find they were fully booked for evening meals. (I think I also coped rather well with Gin and Kettle crisps).
6. Capture the moment – Easy these days as no one goes anywhere without a phone. If the kids are old enough give them an old camera – It really encourages them to take interest in their surroundings, and if your other half is anything like mine, at least you might get one of two shots with you in!
7. Make a Plan together– Activities each family member will enjoy at some point each day. Sounds super organised I know, but trust me, it really helps avoid extra melt down moments. If everyone has had their say and gets to do something they really want to (including mum and dad) it keeps the peace. Babies and toddlers are easy as they go along with stuff, but keep the older children involved in decisions if you can.
8. PACK the SNACKS – The last thing you need is hungry kids just as you sit down to watch a band with a nice cold beer. Even if you don’t agree with snacking kids, give yourself a break, you’re on holiday. Kids have small tummies and queues for food can be ridiculous especially around tea time. Avoid 20 minute queues for overpriced chips and PACK the SNACKS. Healthy stuff and some special treats to diffuse melt down moments and hopefully buy you an extra 10 minutes out playing (or is that just us?!)
9. Quality YOU time – Even if it’s just a leisurely stroll to the water tap. Make sure you take some time to yourself to take in the surroundings on your own. Take turns (another great reason to have friends with you) to spend a little time doing something for yourself. Shop, massage, music, champagne & hot tub or even just SLEEP?!?!
10. HAVE FUN! This is the biggest tip I can give. Kids LOVE seeing their parents let go. So, no matter what happens, be sillier than you have ever been before.