Festival season is upon us but for those with little tagalongs, going to our favourite weekender isn’t just a matter of grabbing a tent and wellies and heading off into the mud. Taking children to festivals is a serious business that requires planning with military precision. That’s why we’ve put together this How To Guide to help you enjoy sun, fun and festival time with the family.
Pick a Child-Friendly Festival
While you’ll often see little ones at all manner of festivals, some line-ups are far more child-friendly than others. Unless your brood is particularly fond of Metallica, try to opt for festivals that cater to families with kid-friendly entertainment, games, activity fields and shows. A couple of our favourites are Camp Bestival and Latitude, both of which provide plenty of family fun alongside great music for grownups.
Festivals: wellies, tents and beer – that’s all you need right? Well not when the kids are coming along! Packing enough to cover all eventualities is much more likely to ensure you and your family have a good time than turning up unprepared. Think baby wipes (lots and lots of baby wipes), loo roll, suncream, warm bedding, cool bedding, waterproofs, sun hats, plasters, snacks, water, sippy cups, nappies, games, puzzles and other things to entertain little minds while you chill out in front of your favourite band. And even then you probably haven’t packed enough.
Okay… now for the other half of the stuff.
Even if your children are old enough to toddle around a festival by themselves, chances are they’re bound to get tired at some point. Invest in a solid, sturdy pushchair with wheels big enough to deal with the festival field terrain so little ones can be pushed around and have somewhere to sit when they’re worn out. If you don’t fancy investing in an expensive new pushchair, you can even make like some parents we saw at Camp Bestival and create your very own Den-on-Wheels. Made from boxes or pallet wood with sturdy wheels attached, these portable dens were decked out with covers, cushions, duvets, fairy lights and sometimes even curtains – perfect for giving little ones their own private space if the excitement of the festival gets a bit too much.
Protect Little Ears
Talking of getting too much, if there’s one thing all festivals are it’s VERY LOUD. Fun for us but not so fun for our little ones. Thus kids’ ear defenders are an absolute must for parents at festivals.
Not to mention the fun that can be had pretending they’re constantly at a silent disco.
Think of Little Tummies
While a beer and a plate of mash might do us nicely at a festival, little ones need healthy nutritious meals and a bit of a routine to stop them getting overtired and stressed out. Nowadays festivals are pretty great at catering to all diets but, to be extra sure, try to take some healthy, kid-friendly nibbles along with you just in case. It’s also a good idea to take lots of water (plus squash if your children don’t like plain H2O) to protect against dehydration in the sun.
Even if you have planned and packed with precision, the risk of children getting lost at a festival is still very real and very scary. Luckily there are a few steps you can take to make sure this doesn’t happen or, if it does happen, that you can find each other again quickly. Firstly, make sure your little one has your number somewhere on them, whether that’s on a bit of paper in their pocket, written on their am (in non-toxic washable pen of course!) or printed on a t-shirt. Secondly, make sure your camp is recognisable by flying a big flag above your tent or some other marker to make sure everyone can find their way back quickly. Thirdly, have a meet-up plan with an easily-found landmark you can meet at in case anyone gets lost. Lastly, for the most safety-conscious of us all, invest in a wearable GPS safety tracker for kids so you know you’ll definitely be able to find them just in case.
And there you have it, the perfect guide to a perfect family festival!