Words: Suzan McCreadie
(preview photo: Suzan McCreadie)
So, we’ve taken our kids to the burn since they were old enough to find their way back (around 8 years). The freedom they experience is fantastic. The stuff you can do – for free – is superb. But the most amazing thing that happens, is that it restored their faith in adults.
Adults can be fun. Adults can be silly, dress up, and most of all, have time to engage. All those things that in the real world are in such short supply. You don’t have to engage with them, just like you’d choose adults to engage with. If you’re not sober, remember that all this kid is picking up on, is it that you’re chatty, or happy, or giggly, or whatever. You don’t have “I’m intoxicated” written on your forehead. You’re just a supernice or a supercool adult.
If parents allow their kids to roam free on the playa it’s their responsibility, not yours. They have a home and (should) know where it is, and in the unlikely case they’re lost, find a Ranger. Not your circus, not your monkeys: it doesn’t need to affect your fun that there are small people around.
At night, most parents are close to their kids. If you see a small human going off on the dancefloor, again, it’s your issue if this makes you uncomfortable. I see a lot of people scanning the crowd and spotting us at a small distance keeping a watch over our young man who loves to dance. Dance with him, ignore him, but no need to judge parents. They know what they’re doing, trust me.
When it comes to teens, they may very well be out and about without grown ups. Be clear what the underage wristband looks like (everyone under 18 gets a different one to adults), and be aware some teen girls look very adult. However, I need to stress this again, if a parent allows a teen onto the playa at night, they know damn well they take a calculated risk, and do so because either they prefer to have their kid have their first experience (good or bad) in a 1 km radius with first aid on standby rather than in a shady part of their hometown. Or secondly, they have a very open trusting relationship with their teen (yes it’s possible) and the parents actually do know what their kids get up to and have educated them well enough to know their own boundaries.
Enjoy the burn & look after yourself like our kids do.
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