Summer weather means music festivals, like Coachella and all those awesome free summer concerts, are just a road trip away. For some of us, that might also coincide with quality time with the kids, but the great debate rages on about whether or not you should bring your children to a music festival (okay… maybe *not* Coachella). Will they have fun? Will you have fun? We asked parenting expert Jo Frost (yes, that Jo Frost!) to weigh in on what to consider if you’re thinking about bringing them along.
1. Choose the right kind of festival for your family. “Get savvy to who’s on at what time, and most importantly, what type of festival it is,” advises Frost. “Your kids have to be the right age to enjoy it. So if you are going to bring kids, be considerate to their needs being met.” Several festivals have been popping up with kid-focused areas, such as Nextival, a family-oriented festival in Maryland in May. They’ll have a dedicated kids’ space, including kid-friendly live music and an interactive play area with everything from puppets to face-painting and bouncy houses.
2. Make sure your kids can handle it. “If your kids have never done a day out completely or endured a long day and evening back-to-back, they might be very cranky,” Frost points out. “Young ones need sleep, and big crowds and an unpredictable and loud day could rock the boat too much.” However, she says, “Older kids have more experience and are more likely to regulate themselves.”
3. Secure a safe spot. So you’ve decided to take them, now what? Frost stresses to “pick a safe spot and stay put, preferably near some form of landmark. Older teenagers want the freedom to roam a little, but should be able to find it back to base easily.” She also points out, “Do not assume one adult has the kids. Take control of being diligent in keeping the kids safe.” That might mean taking turns with your spouse or other adult to ensure that everyone’s seeing what they want to see and staying safe.
4. Put together a pack and play. This one might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at what parents sometimes forget to bring to something like a music festival. Frost says bringing everything “from coloring books and their favorite gadgets, to necessities like mini first-aid kits, sunblock and Epi-Pens” are important to the entire family’s good time. If you’re worried about noise, safety headphones for kids are also popular now, and many cost under $30. Frost also advises to bring “a few familiar items for bedtime if you are camping out,” and “lots of layered clothes that allow for various weather. Take what you need as if you’re on vacation.”
5. Know the truth behind your personal motivations. “Unless you really think you have all the above down, and unless you roll in with some private RV or have easy access in and out of these venues, don’t be selfish and drag your kids to something that is not appropriate for them right now,” Frost stresses. “Kids grow up fast, and one day you will be able to do something like this together. When that time comes, you will be able to enjoy it that much more!”
Tweet us where you’re bringing your kids this summer @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)