Thursday, July 27, 2017

Guide: Summer Festivals with Kiddos

summer is in full swing! this time of year new england is in celebration mode, whether it be music, food, cultural or all of the above. it is the season of festivals. during my teenage years i attended a music festival once a summer with all my hard earned summer job dollars. it was always the highlight of the season. i also remember being very hot, thirsty, hungry and tired at some point, usually mid-afternoon, during the day long event. i have learned from my mistakes and as years passed have became better at planning.

these days, my hubs and i, still like to go to festivals and try are best to make a few favorites over the summer. however, things are quite different now with two little ones in toe. we have all seen or possibly have been that family with unhappy kiddos in a place that is suppose to be fun. unhappy kiddos makes for unhappy parents. in an attempt to avoid family meltdown we do are best to make our outings enjoyable and memorable. of course, there is a little bickering along the way, but that's to be expected. we have also observed and learned a few tricks from other adventurous parents.

1. make a PLAN. i can't express this more. if the venue has a website read it. all of it. from the home page to the FAQ. you can learn a lot about what is allowed and what is not allowed. if a website is not available try GOOGLE and social media. you can gather info. from other sources and people. if the event is considered family friendly you can usually bring a good amount of what you will need for the day.

2. fluids. okay, so we all know that staying hydrated is important so make sure you and crew drink plenty of water. in addition, sip on sports drink, like gatorade, which contains sugar and electrolytes like sodium and potassium that your body is also loosing under the hot sun. offer little ones and other family member something to drink often. i forget this myself, but keith is great at reminding all of us to drink up.

3. always bring food. even if it has to stay in the car. a snack before you head in can keep everyones stomach in check for a bit. and snacks after can ease a long wait in traffic. if the venue allows food inside bring as much and you can tote along. at a minimum i regularly pack three to four snacks each and lunch. we always have our little one bring a backpack. even the smallest packs can hold a few granola bars and piece of fruit. quick breads are one of my go-to am snacks. the day before we plan on going on a day trip or outing. i try to get one on the oven. banana walnut and blueberry walnut are our favorites. i usually make sure everyone gets a hardy slice either in the car or shortly after arrival. other go-tos are apples, mixed nuts, carrot sticks, a container of fruit salad and/or cucumber tomato salad and some kind of salty treat like a big bag of hard potato chips. we also make sure to bring some cash for a few sweat treats like dell's frozen lemonade, homemade root beer or ice cream. and if we are still at an event during dinner time we hit up a food trucks or stand.

4. sun and ear protection is a must. lots of sunscreen applied a few times a day, sunnies and sun hats. if the event does not provide a shady area to take a break from the sun. i recommend bring a sun shade or beach umbrella if allowed. we own a kelty sun shade and a big old beach umbrella and both get good use through the summer months.

i also carry bandanas for the whole family. we wet them for cool cloths, wear them to protect exposed skin from sun and if needed wipe a rose nose. we add a change of cloths into the pack for accidents or layering, thin long pants that can be rolled, a long sleeve tee and sweater.

new little ears are super sensitive. sound muffling headphone or molding ear plugs work great for protection those new ears from load music or crowds. long days can get boring so we always bring small toys, like match box cars, harmonics, bubbles, beach ball, etc.

5. consider arrival time and departure. if you can swing it and get your S-H-I-T together i recommend arriving early. most likely you will beat the inbound traffic, making for a less stressful entrance, and a quick exit at the end of the event. sitting in grid lock with screaming kids if not the way you want to end your day. once in the venue always find a seat reasonably close to the bathrooms. little ones and pregnant mamas can't hold it as long and frequent the potty more often. don't be in a rush to leave if the kiddos are content. staying a little later and taking your time as things wrap up can make for a more relaxing exit.

6. finally consider your child's age, personality and what you want out of the experience. if you are not okay with chancing around a newly walking toddler during your favorite bands set then leave the babe at home. you want everyone to have a good time so make sure your child will enjoy the experience was much as you if you toe them along. remember to take things slow, lower expectations and make sure you get good night sleep the night before.

if you do this a few times a year you will develop a go to plan with items that you know you have to bring along for a happy day. building excitement up to the event is also a great way to ensure a good time is had by all. read books, listen to music, taste foods, etc. whatever you can do to make the event relatable to your little one will help with the fun factor.

whatever your adventure, enjoy!  good or bad, if it isn't funny now it will be in a few years.