As you gear up for the weekend, we wanted to share a few tips from expert mom and dad festival-goers who consider taking their kids to music festivals an important part of creating family experiences and memories for their kids. Here are five of our favorite game plan strategies:

1. Provide hearing protection for your kids.
Bring the lawn mowing earmuffs or sets of earplugs for your kids to wear throughout the day, especially if you’re planning to watch the bands from near the stage.

2. Pack for all weather conditions and experiences
Bring the sunscreen, hats, umbrellas, snacks, hand wipes and extra changes of clothes, just in case.

3. Take some time to yourself.
Chances are with all of the festival activities happening, you might need a break throughout the weekend. Our kids’ area has activities planned until 8:30 each night; after that, we’ll still have fun toys on-site at the kids’ tents for the kiddos to enjoy. Or, you can use the post-8:30 p.m. time for date night, arranging to have someone pick your kids up from the festival around then. Another option is to go with another family so the kiddos have other children to hang out with throughout the weekend and so parents can switch on and off for kid duty, allowing you to have kid-free time to listen to the bands and participate in the sponsor experiences.

4. Have a plan for if you get separated.
Writing your name and phone number on a bracelet your child wears at the festival can help both kids and the adults they ask for help know what to do should you and your child get separated throughout the weekend. When you get to the festival, take a few minutes to familiarize your kids with the layout of the grounds and walk through with your kids what to do if they get separated from you throughout the event.

Our grounds at Ivers Square are fairly small, so they shouldn’t be too overwhelming for kids. And all of our Shipyard volunteers will be wearing gold Shipyard T-shirts with a tiger face on the front; kiddos can reach out to them anytime for help. We will also have an information tent on-site kids can go to if they get lost. If all else fails, create a family meeting place or tell your kids to look for another mom who has kids with her to ask for help if they get separated from you.

5. Listen to several of the bands’ music before the festival. To make the action happening onstage more fun for your kids (and for you), spend time listening to and talking about several of the bands’ music with your kids in the weeks and days leading up to the festival. Find out which bands are your kids’ favorites, and be sure they’re at the stage during those shows.

Remember, kids 10 and under get in free with a ticketed adult. We can’t wait to see you and your kids September 27-28 at Ivers Square in downtown Cape Girardeau for the second year of the Shipyard Music Festival! See you soon!

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