By Leah Larwood
Lifestyle blogger at www.rootsandtoots.com
Leah is a freelance writer and published poet. She also blogs about quirky and vintage-inspired travel, local produce, independent eateries and alternative therapies.
Taking spirited toddlers and young children to a festival doesn’t have to be as stressful as it might sound. As with all parenting, good preparation makes every inch of a difference.
There are a plethora of children-friendly festivals these days. This year we’re off to Latitude. It’s less than a hour’s drive for us, which means we’re close enough for a sharp exit, plus, there are some great family-friendly activities already on offer.
Kids at Latitude
With activities and entertainment for kids, teens and families spread across three areas, it’s no wonder they’ve previously won Best Family Festival and Best Family Day Out.
We’ll be headed to the ‘Kids Area’, which is an entire festival in itself! Designed with kids in mind and curated with love and imagination, its designed to keep curious minds occupied with everything from pond dipping and star gazing to a kid’s disco and pizza making.
If you’re headed to Latitude with your children come and say hi, you can follow me on Instagram @rootsandtootsblog
Here are top ten tips for masterminding festival planning with children!
Setting Up Camp
Depending on what works best for you, consider arriving early to snag the best pitch or turn up late to avoid the queues and traffic. The former feels like the best bet as it also gives you a chance to set up camp and means you’ll miss less of the day ahead. If you can, camp in the quiet zone or ‘Family Camping’ as you are less likely to be disturbed by all-night partying.
Not that you need children to allow you to release your inner fairy, but it’s always good to have an excuse. Take face paint, fairy wings, tattoos, wands and glow sticks. And for your child? Well, they can share these things with you. Just remember to take lots of baby wipes!
Kid’s ears are of course very sensitive to noise and every child will respond differently to the loud noises. Take ear defenders to muffle the sound, which may also come in useful at nighttime. And don’t forget your own plasters and anti-bacterial gel, some Calpol and liquid antihistamine, should a few nights sleeping in a field trigger any hay fever symptoms.
Whether you plan to tackle the festival showers, or not, it’s always wise to take a suitcase load of wet wipes regardless. I know these aren’t environmentally friendly but they will be essential for a festival. Don’t forget towels, soap and shampoo and shower gel miniatures.
Avoid taking a buggy and instead beg, borrow or steal a wooden wagon, which you can also transform into a day bed with blankets should they need a nap. It would also double up as a place for them to eat and be entertained. That’s the hope!
Light the Way
A torch is a must for midnight portaloo trips but also consider a lantern or battery-powered fairy lights for your camper van, tent or wooden trolley.
Now this might be easier said than done. But we’re hoping that a backpack filled with toys, pens, paper, iPad and other distractions, may just keep our little one amused while we take in some comedy or a poetry event. Consider taking a couple of new items that they’ve not used before which will help to distract for slightly longer than usual!
Snacks and Water
We’ll be taking the in-law’s camper van so will be lucky enough to have a fridge this year, but if you’re camping try to take a cool bag and stock up with: bread sticks, healthy biscuits, apricots, apples, avocados, bananas, flapjacks, crackers, raisins, nuts, nut butter, oat cakes. Anything that will fill a hole until you top up on festival fare. And try to take a couple of reusable bottles that you can refill at the drinking water spots.
It goes without saying that you should take waterproofs, wellies, sunscreen, sun hats and warm clothes and summer clothes. Whatever the weather has in store, be prepared for both a mud bath or a dust bowl! Lightweight waterproof all-in-ones are a good idea for both rain, mud or shine!
Sense of Humour
Lastly, and most importantly, although it’s crucial to remember that festivals and holidays with children will never be quite the same again, if you can leave all your expectations at home and go armed with a sense of humour and an openness for adventure, you might be surprised at how much more fun you’ll have.