If you hate the XFactor and have clicked on the title anyway, thank you! Please give me a minute, as this isn’t about the XFactor in itself (and everything that goes with it). But there are a couple of things I want to highlight about me attending the Sunday final on Sunday with my 8-year-old son.
It’s a very civilised affair!
First thing first, I can’t speak for any concert. But attending the XFactor final at the Wembley Arena is really ‘civilised’! This was the third year in a row for me, and every time I pre-booked a local parking spot (albeit not in the official Wembley car park) with WPL, which allows you to book a parking space for events for Wembley Stadium or for the SSE Wembley Arena. For only £9.99 the parking space is yours from the time the car park opens (in our case 2pm) until one hour after the end of the event. It’s safe, regulated, you can go in and out with your car for the whole day, and it’s only a short 10 minute walk for the Stadium or Arena.
Whenever we’ve been to see XFactor, we’ve always been lucky enough to either walk straight in or having to queue very little. After all the checks at the entrance (it’s a bit like being at the airport), you go on and you’re free to stop at the various food and drink kiosks – we LOVE our nachos! Make sure you don’t lose your ticket once inside though, or they might not allow you to your seat!
Both last year and this year my 2 nieces (aged 8 and 9 last year) also came along to the final, and in July we got to go and watch the Six Chair Challenge for Mrs O’s category (where we saw Honey G and Saara Aalto initially being sent home by Sharon!) My nieces, especially the youngest one, have always got really involved and had a great time!
Children have to be at least 8 to be allowed in, and there are plenty of families and children in there. People are generally extremely nice and happy for your children to stand on a chair when everyone is standing up (or they won’t see a thing) or for you to pick them up.
It’s loud, you’re on TV, the music and the entertainer are on during the breaks, and there’s never a dull moment. What really got to me the first time I went (with no children) was how easy and safe the whole thing is. And that’s why I decided to bring my nieces the following year, and this year, for the first time, my son.
So if you ever decide to go and want to bring your children but are wondering whether it’s appropriate for them, you can be reassured that it is!
My son got extremely bored!
The Big Guy turned eight earlier this month. Knowing that I had been going to watch the XFactor final in the past with his cousins, he always wondered why he couldn’t go. And the reason is simply that he wasn’t old enough. So I promised him I’d take him when he turned eight.
And this year I did.
It has to be said that he’s not into XFactor. And he generally doesn’t show a great interest singing/music. But I thought he’d still appreciate the experience. He might enjoy and be impressed by the fact that he’s in a big arena with 10,000 people for the first time in his life and is watching famous people perform. Or so I thought!
It was a long day for us, as we were lucky enough to have free tickets, which we had to pick up early. This meant that I had made him miss his football match in the morning, so we could set off just after lunch. We ended up spending a few hours at Costa, where he got very bored! Thankfully his best friend and his family were also with us at the Arena, and I had hoped that for my boy to sit next to his best friend would be really special.
While waiting for the show to start they were both engrossed playing on his friend’s tablet – he was having a great time! But once they put the tablet away, and the show started, he was miserable!
“There’s nothing to do”, he said.
I guess that being in the presence of Kylie Minogue, Madness or Little Mix didn’t mean much to him. Now, you may or may not be a fan, but it’s live music from credible artists who know how to put on a show.
Nope, not phased.
Also not pleased about people standing up all the time, forcing
him to stand up on his chair if he wanted to attempt to even see anything. And to be fair, we were 9 rows behind the judges. So that meant we were below stage level, and for a child, it’s not easy to see.
This is to show that the experience in itself is good. But it has to be ‘your thing’. If your child doesn’t like music, loud noises, big, crowded places and doesn’t particularly care for international artists (!), then it may not be for them.
And I’m not going to pretend to anyone or on social media that he had a great time.
Because he didn’t!
And that’s fine! That’s just not his thing for now, and it may never be. Or maybe when he’s older he will appreciate a good concert, just not this and not right now. Nothing wrong with that.
And he’s agreed that if we ever have the opportunity to go again, he’s okay not to come. I thought that was quite mature of him. After all, he’s not choosing to do something that he doesn’t like just because his cousins are going. He can make his own choices, and I’m happy with that.
What’s mindfulness got to do with the XFactor?
Probably very little.
But if you extend the concept of mindfulness to living in the moment, I’m quite proud of myself for using my phone very little during the actual show. Learning from previous experiences, I know I don’t watch videos back anyway, and I don’t anything with them. I’ve even deleted previously-taken videos of XFactor performances to make space on my phone! So why bother?
But most importantly, why should I watch the show from the screen of my phone?? I’m there to watch it and enjoy it. And not to try to take the perfect video. I won’t even watch it afterwards! If I wanted to have the perfect view on screen, I’d just watch it at home on TV!
And so I just enjoyed it.
I embraced and appreciated the fact that I was there. I soaked it all up, enjoyed the special effects and admired Nicole Scherzinger in all her (slim) beauty. And I watched the performances LIVE and not through my phone screen.
So my tip for next time you happen to watch someone perform live is just BE there. And have fun!
Like I said, XFactor may not be your thing. But it can still be a really enjoyable day out, with or without your children!
Have you ever taken your children to watch a concert? Where did you go, and how was the experience for you and for them?