Summer is here and so out roll the annual festivals. From music festivals such as Glastonbury, Camp Bestival, Beautiful Days and Port Eliot, to local foodie festivals, country fairs and all the fabulous UK festivals and carnivals in between, Brits love a reason to celebrate and there are now 750 festivals across the UK. Festivals are growing in popularity as a great alternative to family-friendly weekenders, but before you shake out the tent and pack your wellies, what do you need to know about taking kids to festivals? What should be on your ‘to remember’ list, and what can’t you do without? Here’s our guide to not just surviving, but thoroughly enjoying sharing a festival with your children and making magical memories which will last for years to come…
Five Top Tips For Taking Kids to Festivals
1) Have Realistic Expectations
Having realistic expectations of what going to a festival with children involves is crucial if everyone is to have a great time. If the idea of a festival for you involves drinking copious amounts of cider and partying until sunrise then perhaps bringing your kids along for the ride isn’t the best idea. Festivals can be eye-opening, magical, worldly and truly wonderful for children, but only if they are looked after and the adults in charge also understand the risks involved. Enjoy yourself of course but have your wits about you and understand that children can quickly feel overwhelmed, tired and hungry - they might not want to party with you until the small hours of the morning, so you shouldn’t stretch their limitations. If you go in a group then there will be a good few of you to share the childcare load meaning you can enjoy yourself too.
2) Label Your Children!
Festivals can be really busy and children can easily become lost. Labelling your child’s shoes with name labels which include your phone number is a great subtle way for children to be easily found (and to remind them of your phone number if they forget when panicked!). Write your phone number on smaller children’s arms in marker pen or have a wristband where you can write your number clearly. Dressing your children in something bright and easily recognisable is a great way of identifying them in a crowd, and we’ve even heard of parents who tie a helium balloon to the waist bands of their children so that they can be easily spotted above crowds of tall adults. Genius!
3) Remember to Pack EVERYTHING
Weather in the UK is famously unpredictable, especially when festivalling it seems! Pack not only wellies and coats but sun cream, swim suits and sun hats too. A long day walking around in the outdoors with children in tow is tiring enough without also being inadequately prepared. Your children (and as a result you too) will be happier if correctly dressed and perfectly prepared for all weather scenarios. Children’s ears are more sensitive than those of an adult, so ear protectors are also a great idea for your children – make sure you buy them before you go so that you don’t have to pay festival prices once you’re there. And of course, don’t forget to put stick on name labels on your headphones, suncreams, hats and wellies if you have lots of children in your group to ensure that the correct items remain with the correct child!
4) Food and Drink
Remaining hydrated and satiated are crucial when taking children to festivals. Indeed, exploring other cultures by sampling the tastes and smells of the variety of delicious food stalls on offer is one of the joys of festival life. Your children will be happier and more content if they have full tummies, and don’t forget the importance of hydration when walking around all day in the great outdoors. Alcohol for the adults will perhaps make a festival with children more fun, but don’t forget that hangovers plus children are not very fun at all! If you’re dancing lots then remember to hydrate, especially if the weather is warm. Take snacks and plenty of drinks to keep in your tent so that you don’t need to traipse miles to get an early morning food fix. Flapjacks, fruit and big bottles of water and juice will all help to give you energy for the day ahead. If you have a gas stove then even better - whipping up a breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast in the morning is one of the best bits about camping!
5) Make Sure Everyone is Happy
And finally, make sure that everyone is having a good time! If children are tired or fed-up then the whinging will only serve to impact on your special family time. And this works both ways; if you have been stuck in the circus tent for hours and end up missing your favourite band then you won’t be enjoying yourself either! Take things slow and let your children lead the way around the festival so you can see things through their eyes… When everyone is happy, a festival with children is a very wonderful place to be indeed!
We hope that this survival guide to taking the kids to a festival is helpful. Which top tips have we missed? Share your ideas over on Facebook to share the love, we can’t wait to hear your tips! Enjoy the summer of festivals (you will now)!