So you bought your daughter tickets to go see One Direction for her birthday. At the time, going to a concert during her school break felt like it had all the ingredients necessary to be the first family fun-time since Disneyland back in 2004. From what you’ve surmised, One Direction is some sort of adolescence deity, and procuring passes to see this boy band live has bought you a ton of leeway in planning the rest of your trip. But now, the concert date is drawing closer, and you don’t know how you’re supposed to keep everyone in your family entertained both at the concert itself, and during the subsequent free time. Never fear, we are here to help.
First and foremost, buy yourself, and those you love, some earplugs. This has less to do with the content of the music you’ll be listening to, and more to do with the volume at which it is blasted. While the sea of pre-pubescent girls may deem you ‘uncool’ for putting a foam barrier between the snare drums and your eardrums, the alternative is some fairly significant hearing loss. If you enjoy a high pitched ringing in your ears so loud that you scream back at your friends, “WHAT!?,” whenever they talk to you, than by all means, forgo the ear-buds. On the other hand, if you want to make a bunch of new friends your age, bring a few extra pair.†
Upon arriving at the concert venue, you and your child should agree on an accessible and highly visible meeting point. Solid waypoint options include sculptures, information booths, and even “the port-o-potty” area, if there is a dearth of remarkable structures nearby. This meeting point can be used as a place to congregate after the concert, as well as the default area to find one another when you get separated during the show. Think of it as a human Lost & Found. Your kid may feel condescended to as you slowly explain to go directly to the sculpture of Sir Francis Drake if she gets lost,‡ but she’ll be thanking you when she looks away from Harry Styles only to realize that finding a parent at a One Direction concert is like finding Waldo in a candy cane factory.
Now things are bound to get a bit trickier. The music begins, your daughter disappears, and you are faced with the seemingly unanswerable question of how to squeeze any personal enjoyment out of the next three hours of choreographed Brit-pop. Here is our advice: Dance! While this music may not be your personal choice for easy listening, it is purposely and painstakingly constructed to make you want to move your feet. So oblige the rhythm, move those hips, and remember, dancing is great exercise.
As the encores wind down and you move toward Sir Francis Drake to collect your family members, there is one more supremely important item to keep in the forefront of your mind. Remember that this concert, in your kid’s eyes, is the coolest thing that’s ever happened. No matter how your first face-to-face encounter with One Direction went, do not yuck their yum! That means keeping sarcasm to a minimum and trying to reflect your children’s raw enthusiasm back at them. Because, after all, that’s what it’s all about.
The payoff for all this parental understanding is that you can most likely leverage your kid’s enthusiasm into a subsequent educational foray. While your first instinct may be to go straight to the nearest museum, consider that unless you have an exceptionally open-minded child, conveying a love for visual arts can be tricky business. How about forgoing the standard museum fare and taking your family on a Banksy themed treasure hunt around London. With the easy download of the “Banksy London Tour” App, you and your family can travel like graffiti-art scavengers, combing the old city for original pieces of artistic and social commentary. Your kid will be into Banksy. Rebellion. Striking images. Fighting against the establishment. He’s essentially a metaphor for adolescence. And the best part is, in order to psych them up for this particular leg of your journey, you can throw the movie, “Exit Through the Gift Shop” onto their iDevice during the commute.
If you follow these simple instructions, not only will family fun time be back once again, but you may also get entered into the running for a parent of the year award.