Here is the 2nd part of Anne‘s guest post regarding concert travelling:
What you might want to consider to make the concert experience easier and more joyful:
- Watch (any) concert DVD’s at home before going on the trip. That’ll help the kids see how many people there will be, that there’ll be great lights and sometimes darkness, that the music will be loud, that the stage will be huge. You can do it even if you have a wee baby.
- Listen to the music of the band you’re going to see at home and while on the trip. Make a compilation to take with you to the trip so you can get in the mood before the concert. Let the children come up with their own favourite songs and get personal with the music. Let them choose the songs for the compilation.
- If you can, make a practice run of the concert by going to a local club and asking the owner if you can bring your child to see a concert there. That’ll give some advice on how to prepare for the big event.
- take a nap, all of you, or watch an afternoon film at the hotel. Calm down for a while to rest for the evening.
- Make up a secret language. At the concert, you won’t hear what your kids have to say. Make up a language of your own with them to be able to say the important things, like crossing your legs and pointing at the toilets means we have to go to the toilet now. Or pointing at the empty glass of orange juice means ‘are you thirsty’.
- Be early at the concert place. If you’re stressed out about finding the concert place and getting there in time, no-one will have fun while getting there. Make time to be able to stop by a pretty flower, to have an ice cream and to spend time with your little lovelies before the concert.
- Have dinner and remember the snacks. A hungry concert is a terrible concert. Well fed family members are much more likely to have fun together.
- Find a special place for you and the family at the concert hall. Perhaps you’ll find a seat somewhere, or decide to stand behind the front of house mixing desk. Or climb up to the second floor. Find a place where you’ll have enough breathing space, there’s no need to get squashed in the front row.
- Ask for help. Sometimes you might be able to get to the wheelchair rack with a child so you can see better and have a place to sit.
- Take the kids on an adventure around the concert hall. Find the toilets while waiting for the concert to start. Go on a search for orange juice. See who’ll run fastest to the other end of the long balcony. Go see the merchandise stalls. Have a look at all the lights on the mixing desks. Show them around and make a competition of who will be the quickest one to find ten sparkly details. The more the kids will have a chance to pour their energy into something before the concert, the happier they’ll be sitting or standing or being on your back when the concert starts. Before the lights go out, have a good look at people around your family. Who will be the first to find a concert goer with the same colour shirt as your child is wearing? How many people are wearing sunglasses? Anybody with a hat on?
- Help the kids communicate with strangers in a safe way. Kids are easily approachable, and in every concert we’ve gone to, there have been fans coming to talk to our child. They want to know the kid’s favourite song, and how they’re still up at this late in the evening, and how the kid feels about the music they are passionate about. Do not turn them down, but help your child in the communication. If he/she doesn’t speak the same language as the person asking, be an interpreter. Let the child feel welcome and let him speak his mind. It’s a big event for the child, as it is a big event for the big fans. Let them share the experience and be a part of the tribe. They’ll appreciate it.
- Communicate throughout the concert. With your secret language, ask questions and let the kids come up with new ‘words’ for your new language. Point out the favourite songs, the laser lights, and enjoy the concert as best you can. If you need to leave the concert hall in the middle of the concert (to go feeding or nappy changing or to the toilet or to calm down a screaming child), do it without making a fuss. It isn’t the end of the world. And if they happen to get bored before you do and make up a sign for playing Angry Birds on your phone, let them. It’s a special night, and it should be special for everybody.
- If the child falls asleep, let them sleep. Carrying devices are perfect for this. If you don’t have one, let the child sleep on a made-up bed consisting of coats and jackets. People around you will help for certain. Our child has fallen asleep in every concert apart from the very latest one we’ve taken him into. In fact, when asked this morning, of what’s best about rock concerts in his opinion, the seven-year old said “the music and falling asleep to it”.
For the next morning, don’t plan a thing. Sleep late, have a good breakfast, and talk about the previous night and it’s wonders. Spend time together and make sure the kids will know that with you they can safely collect new experiences about this world and they’ll survive and be safe and you’ll be there for them 🙂 .
Experiences of this world are important, both for the little ones and for us big ones. It is only through widening our horizon that we learn something we never thought possible. Thank you Daniela, for having an inspirational and hopeful blog for all who travel with the little folk. And if ever any of you need more advice on how to plan for a concert trip with a child, you can find me at http://tosimplybeornottobe.blogspot.com .