If you love live music, you may be eager to let your kids experience it. It could even be a chance for them to see their favorite artists in the flesh. That said, concerts can get rowdy.
Plus, there are other concerns such as noise levels, and the need to keep your kids occupied between sets. Some parents may even be considering the prospect of a music festival, which can be an even more challenging experience. (As we learned firsthand this past summer. But that’s a whole other series of posts for another day…)
Of course, there’s nothing to stop you from taking your kids to a music festival or live concert. But taking the right precautions ahead of time will help you enjoy the concerts a whole lot more. These tips for taking your kids to a live music event will make for a better experience for all – trust me!
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Read This Before Taking Your Kids To Concerts/Music Festivals:
1. Target family-friendly concerts/festivals
I cannot stress this enough. (This, at least, was one thing we did right this past summer!)
Some concerts and festivals are much more suitable for families – some are even branded as ‘family-friendly’. And it it’s not branded or marketed as such, I’d give a lot of thought to attending with small children. Just think about the logistics involved, and you’ll see why:
When it comes to indoor concerts, you should target events in venues with seats. Believe me, the standing area is no place for children. They WILL get tired of having to stand for long periods of time. (And they WILL complain about it.) If the crowd gets too wild, they could even be injured!
As for outdoor concerts and festivals, there are many family-focused options that will have room, for example, to picnic. The best (including the one we attended last summer) even have children-specific play areas, a stage targeted toward kids’ sets, and other “family-friendly” options. Festivals along these lines can be great days out or weekend events for your family; you can enjoy both the music and each other’s company.
Some music festivals (including the one we attended) may even have family camping areas. If you choose to camp at the festival, you’ll be near other families with small children, so you won’t get serenaded by your neighbors with a middle-of-the-night jam session after the last set ends. (Not that I speak from experience or anything.)
When considering taking your family to a music festival or concert, be mindful of the timing relative to your children’s ages. Late-night concerts will probably last well past your children’s bedtimes. Ditto for that last set at the music festival,. Given that your kids will be up at the crack of dawn anyway, you probably won’t be able to catch the last acts of the night, because you’ll need to be back in the campsite with them, getting your own shut-eye. (Or worse, having to get them back to their beds from the final sets after they fall asleep during the show.)
2. Keep your kids occupied
Even if you’re going to see your child’s favorite artist live (and they can seemingly sing along all the words!), you still need to be mindful of what you’re going to do with them during downtimes. Depending on your kids’ age, they may get very bored during these moments; are you ready to handle the consequences? (And don’t assume you can rely on being somewhere with a data signal or outlets, so they can stream videos and then charge up their devices again.)
Check ahead of time to see if there will be a kids’ play area. Or a pool where you can cool off for a few hours. Check again upon arrival to see if any of the vendors are hosting special kids’ events, or if there is a special kids’ stage with family-friendly programming and activities.
You should also consider bringing some toys to keep your kids occupied during these moments. A tablet and headphones could be great for allowing them to watch films. The headphones will allow your kids to watch a film without everyone else around having to hear, plus they could be useful if the music is loud.
You may also want to bring some snacks, which are also helpful when kids get bored and whiney. Even better, consider buying them their own disposable cameras and let them test out their photography skills. Or play games with them like I-spy between acts.
3. Protect your kids’ hearing
Concerts can be loud and young kids could have their hearing damaged. Infants are often still developing their sense of hearing, and anything over 80 decibels (which most concerts are well over) could have harmful effects.
If your kids don’t like ear plugs, or their ears are too small for foam ear plugs, consider other ear protection such as these baby earmuffs. These are seriously the best protection you can get for the littlest children; I know several people who’ve tried them and swear by them.
It’s also worth trying to not get too close to speakers or the stage, if possible, to further minimize damage. It may seem like a sacrifice, but it’s much better than running the risk of permanently damaging your kids’ hearing.
4. Consider a sling for infants
Are you used to schlepping your kiddo everywhere in a stroller? Think again. Strollers generally aren’t concert-friendly; some venues even ban them. And if (as was the case for us last summer) your festival involves lots of bumpy, muddy ground in grassy outdoor spaces and dirt roads, you really won’t want to try to maneuver your stroller there anyway.
If you’re taking an infant to a concert or music festival, just leave the stroller at home and bring your preferred carrier, or get one if you don’t already have one. This will be so much easier than the stress and hassle of having to wrestle a stroller in.
There are so many options available nowadays, that there’s something for every size kiddo up to preschool age, and every parental preference. This post from the archives covers my own personal favorites from when my kiddos were this age: a ring-sling for me, a backpack for Daddy.
There are so many types of front-facing slings and carriers for young infants that you probably already have your favorite. For older infants and toddlers, you can’t beat a backpack sling to let them watch the concert from your shoulders. We LOVED our baby backpack, and used it long past when Essie could walk. Given how tired even our “big kids” got with all the walking between venues at last summer’s music festival, having a carrier backpack is critical to keep little legs from giving out throughout the long weekend of concerts at a festival event.
5. Bring all the other essentials
Yes, it’s a concert or music festival – but the same rules of being away from home with your kiddos still apply. In other words, pack like for a usual day trip away from home, but enough to last the whole weekend.
Yes, you’ll need the full diaper bag complement if that’s the age your kiddos are at – bottles, wipes, diapers, change of clothes, etc. And keep in mind that a concert in a field will probably not have modern bathroom changing facilities at every turn, so be prepared to change diapers on your lap, in the field, etc. (If your firstborn is still young enough that this gives you pause, don’t worry – the older they get and the more you have, the more blasé you’ll become about this sort of thing. Trust me.)
And for outdoor events, plan for every possible weather type: rain (windbreakers and rain ponchos), sun (sunblock), cold (jackets and long pants), bugs (bug repellent or even better, permethrin-treated clothing), etc. We needed all of these and then some at the weekend festival we attended last summer.
What about you? Have you taken your kids to a festival or concert? How’d it go? Let us know in the comments!
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