I have turned the calendar over to May, this can which can only mean one thing in this household. Along with such important matters like a certain boys birthday it also means it is countdown to the start of festival season!
This year we will be heading off to France for two weeks in the caravan so it is going to be a quite season, we may only fit two festivals in and to be honest although possible with a toddler, it is hard work. Last summer Matilda was the grand old age of 3 months when we headed off to Glastonbury and it was quite easy. When you take a baby to a festival they can be attached to you, have no sleeping pattern, only want milk, sleep through pretty much everything, and more importantly cannot run off! We took Dylan at around 2 years of age to Glastonbury and although he enjoyed it we found it hard going and as long as you like spending the whole time in the kids field or do not mind going off on your own I would suggest trying to go as a group with other children so at least you can share the child care or time to go and see some bands.
I will over time post more about festivals as it is such a big part of our lives but thought it may be good to start with a few of my personal top tips on taking children to a festival.
Have a practice run
First of all, you may want to consider having a night or a long weekend camping somewhere not to far from home especially if you have never even been camping with children before. It is a good way of working out what you may need or not need whilst camping overnight.
Secondly, you might want to consider buying a day ticket to a festival not far from home, rather than going the whole hog straight away. I think it’s the best introduction to the workings of a festival; you can see how the kids last, test boredom and patience thresholds, and know that you’ve got the comfort of your own bed and bathroom at the end of the day to look forward to.
Arriving and Setting up
This is probably the most painful part (well nearly as painful as the packing up bit!). It very much depends on the age of the children with you. If you can a baby or young toddler, I would recommend trying to put them in a carrier that way you have hands free and do not worry about them wondering off or keep in a buggy and if necessary have plenty of snacks to give them. Older children can help you, keep them busy and most importantly do not let them wonder off. When the site is being set up it is changing so quickly and even as a adult a trip to the toilets can get you lost!
What to bring
The list is pretty much endless and you will never remember anything and it really does not matter if you do forget somethings that is part of the fun of a festival but as a good start I would suggest
- A good pram or even better a baby carrier.
- A trolley to carry kit in and whilst out the festival throw some cushions and blankets in and transform it into a child transporter
- Waterproof ponchos
- Fancy dress clothes (essential for giving children a boost when tired!)
- Baby wipes, suncream, bin bags, basic first aid kit, hats
- Snacks (think filling, healthy, suitable in hot and cold weather that wont go off)
- Things like bubbles, Frisbees, facepainting kits,couple of books, colouring kit and things to play with around tents
- When it comes to clothes think layers, layers and more layers
- Ear protectors
If you can I would suggest going with friends, the support and swapping of child care at times is really helpful and the children can get on and play together. Try and remember that is your break as well as the children’s so ENJOY IT, it’s not some sort of test, it’s supposed to be a break for all of you.