Do you have young kids but still love to party? Want to go on an adventure that’s different to the usual camping in the new forest? Something a bit more fun that you and the kids can enjoy? Why not try a music festival – it’s a different environment to the festivals you may have gone to in previous years – many festivals have excellent children’s areas with kid friendly entertainment and activities, and even offer babysitting services… which means you can still go out and dance until the wee hours knowing your children are tucked up safe in bed!
1. Make sure the place you are taking them is child friendly
Seems like an obvious one, but are children welcome at the festival? Check the FAQs page of the site, see if there are family tickets on offer and check that there is some sort of kids area that you can use as a bargaining chip onsite for good behaviour.
2. It isn’t just about them… make sure you are having fun too!
With babysitters and childrens areas now of the highest quality, you can keep them entertained and safe whilst you go explore and let your hair down!
If you have a large tent with one big space, consider buying a small pop up tent, which you buy for around £20/ £30 in Argos to put inside the tent for your children. This will give them a sense of space ownership and you some privacy!
3. Decorate your tent
Make sure your kids can spot your tent, wherever they are. Put up bunting, buy a windmill and a big pole… whatever you do, there will be a lot of tents that look very similar, so make sure your tent stands out and you and your kids can find it easily – even in the dark!
4. Make sure the children know the site as well as you do
When you arrive and have set up pitch, walk the perimeters of the site and agree on a meeting area if anyone gets lost. When exploring, and especially when there are lots of people, it can be easy to get separated, so make sure you know the area really well!
When taking your children to festivals, or anytime really, it’s great for the children to have some identifying information on them incase you get separated from them. Include your number, name and their name and a little message asking the children to be taken to the agreed meeting place.
5. Keep the kids warm and dry
You never know what is going to happen at a festival – the weather may turn unexpectedly leaving you with an upturned tent and a load of wet clothes… the solution? Take some big black bin bags with you and if it looks like it’s going to rain, put everything inside the bags et voila! You will have a load of dry sleeping bags, pillows and clothes. No need to be damp, it can ruin an entire weekend.
The worst is when you leave the edge of your pillow touching the inside of the tent, it rains, and you get back to a cold damp pillow leaving you shivering all weekend.
The best sleeping bags to use are those with a warm cotton lining with a higher tog. Remember, tents protect you from the elements and the bare ground, but not the temperature, so make sure the kids have cosy pyjamas to wear, with extra layers, blankets, warm socks and hats too.
6. Have entertainment supplies
You might be having a really great time sipping on a pint of local ale, but as you know, kids get bored quickly, have some colouring pencils and colouring books to hand. Maybe some snacks to keep them occupied.
7. Consider going with another family with kids
Unfortunately, in this day and age, you can’t assume that children will see a festival and get as excited as you would… but kids will be more likely to explore and use their imagination with other children around. Why not go with another family to help keep the kids entertained and to share the cost of any onsite babysitters.
8. Make sleeping spaces feel cosy and safe
Buy noise cancelling headphones for the kids, pack fleece blankets, battery powered fairy lights – make their sleeping arrangements warm, cosy and a safe feeling space. Try and stick to a normal (ish) bedtime routine, do you read stories? Kiss them good night? Don’t break the routine, make it feel like a safe adventure!
If you choose to get help with childcare at a festival – introduce the children first, tell them you are going out and when you will be back. Maybe bring a portable charger a put a film on on an iPad for them to fall asleep to. A lot of festivals now offer 5 star childcare services.
9. Kids love dressing up
Is there a theme at the festival? Why not take your childrens’ favourite outfits and costumes?
10. How are you going to get around onsite?
Do your kids normally need a buggy or pushchair? Smaller children may not be able to keep up with walking the distance around a festival and may periodically need a nap – so take a buggy with a warm dry blanket stored away underneath and those sound proof headphones to keep them happy!