Tips on taking your kids to festivals


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While some of us may have attended a paper cup strewn festival in the pre-children days, armed with little more than a sunhat and a crate of cider, planning to brave the British elements with the family in tow is quite a different matter.

We've rounded up Mumsnetters' best tips on how to get the most out of a festival with your family.

Make sure you check out our round-up of this year's best festivals for families, our guide to the best family tents and a handy packing checklist.

What to bring

  • Loads of babywipes to cover all bases: bodies/bums/faces/gross festival toilets. Plus a potty for night-time.
  • A decent pushchair is a must for small children. They can sit in it, sleep in it, and when they're out of it you can put all your stuff in it.
  • Do not take a buggy to a festival unless it is of the three-wheeled mountain variety; if you don't own one of these and cannot borrow one, take a sling instead. Or a wheelbarrow. Otherwise you and your umbrella fold will be providing entertainment to others as the wheels become stuck in the mud and you are reduced to carrying your toddler aloft like a badly-designed sedan chair.
  • Waterproof ponchos are really useful - buy cheap ones in a pound shop and use them to sit on, as rain covers for the pushchair, or to keep your bags dry. Also bring one more layer of clothing/bedding than you think you'll need.
  • Take a giant flag or tie a feather boa or giant inflatable toy to an extended tent pole. That way, in a crowd, your party can always be spotted. "We take a giant giraffe with us and at 40ft he's dead easy to spot!"
  • Bright clothes. Lots of pound coins. Suncream.
  • Crayons and colouring books, bubbles, a favourite toy (though not an irreplaceable one), bottles of water, nibbles/snacks. For evenings, a big pushchair/carriage with cushion, blanket and waterproof cover allows them to snooze while you boogie.
  • Take double the quantity of cash you originally thought you'd need.
  • Take some food/drink treats which your DC like but don't have very often; makes it easier to say no to the food stalls and avoid the queues.
  • A small, purse-size first aid kit with Calpol, plasters, etc.

What to wear

Assuming you're not Kate Moss...

  • "Layers, layers, layers!"
  • "Keep the kids covered with hats/long sleeves/suncream, because being outdoors and not under cover for most of day is a long time."
  • "Let your children dress up as fairies and they'll get lots of attention."
  • "Take high-topped sturdy boots, eg DMs. Take them off and they make an ideal stand for pints of lager in flimsy cups on bumpy ground. Otherwise your booze will get kicked over by a marauding three-year-old and you will watch, helpless, as the liquid soaks into the parched earth."

Tents at festival 

What to do if you get separated

Fretting about losing your children does not make for a relaxing festival experience, so be prepared...

  • Write your mobile number on their arm.
  • Putting your mobile number somewhere on your child's person is great, but check first that the venue has reception for your mobile provider. If it doesn't, get a back-up plan.
  • Take a full-length photo on your mobile phone of them every time they get a change of clothes. If they go missing, that's the exact description right there.
  • Get a T-shirt printed with your phone numbers on it - dirt cheap from eBay.
  • As soon as you arrive, talk about what the people who work at the event look like and what to do if they get lost. And know what the lost children procedure is for adults to follow.

What else?

Some final words of festivalling wisdom...

  • The little ones seem to have boundless energy, but don't have the same staying power as adults. Make time to sit in the tent or lie down and relax or they get too knackered!
  • Get them to carry their own stuff in a rucksack once they're big enough; that way you don't have to haul round their tat, and deal with the drink-with-the-lid-not-on-properly in your bag.
  • Buy your own glow sticks in advance - they're usually a stupid price at festivals but are reasonable in home bargains/eBay. You can also use them round the guy-ropes to make your tent different to all the others, and to stop people tripping over them in the dark.
  • If you are going anywhere down the front, then for God's sake get your child some ear protectors. Or all you will hear is thousands of Mumsnetters tutting behind you collectively.
  • Camp away from the toilets and away from fences (men are gross).
  • If you can, leave just before the end so you don't get caught in the crush.

And finally...

  • "Accept that this will be a totally different experience to the one you may have had without children. We spent more time in the family and circus type fields than watching the bands and changed our expectations and we were fine! In fact, we had a good time."

Liked this? Try these:

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Best family festivals for 2016

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Festival packing guide

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Last updated: about 2 years ago