If you’ve ever gone to sporting events with kids, you know how difficult it can be. You might have even avoided it altogether because it seems like a lot to handle! But it can also be a great family adventure that your kids will remember for a long time to come. In fact, it’s one of our family’s go-to adventures year-round! So how do you make it more fun and less stressful? I’ve got all of our best tips here!
Check for Stadium Amenities
Depending on what sport (and level of that sport) you’ll be watching, there may be amenities in the stadium specifically for families. For example, many newer Major League Baseball stadiums have installed baby care centers where there are nursing rooms and areas for cooling off with little ones. There are even playgrounds at many stadiums around the country!
Let Your Kids Know What to Expect
Especially if you’ve never been to a sporting event with kids, make sure they know what it will be like. The crowds will get loud, there will be lots of walking from the parking area to our seats, we need to be seated for a lot of the game, etc. This will allow them to prepare for what they’ll encounter.
I also recommend discussing your family’s procedure for what to do if a child is lost before every time you go to a sporting event. Nobody wants to think about having a lost child, but it’s better to be prepared. We tell our kids to:
- stay where they are when they figured out they didn’t see us.
- look for a police officer/security guard or someone wearing a uniform to tell that they’re lost.
- If they can’t see one, we tell them to look for a mommy with kids.
Pack Your Bag Well
Most stadiums have requirements for clear bags (though some will make exceptions for diaper bags that aren’t clear). Know what the stadium rules are ahead of time. Inside the bag, make sure you take what you would anytime you go out in addition to a few other things. On our packing list anytime we’re going to a game:
- wipes for messy hands. Your kids will ask for cotton candy. Be prepared.
- field glasses. They love looking through them when they get a little bored.
- a tablet loaded with games or videos they don’t need wifi or cell service to access. Stadium cell service is notoriously bad because of the number of people in the area. If you’re invested in the game, but the kids are getting bored, it’s a great idea to have additional entertainment ready for them.
- a portable charger for your phone or tablet.
Be Alright with Not Seeing the Whole Game
Even when you think you’re fully prepared, things can still go off the rails when you go to sporting events with kids. Try to focus on what your kids are experiencing and know when they’re likely to lose interest. Sometimes, the easiest thing to do is to walk around the stadium. A change of scenery can buy you another period, quarter, or inning. Do a lap, grab a snack or do a kids activity offered by the stadium, and then go back to your seat. We also find it helpful to say yes as often as you can. This helps the kids enjoy their time at the stadium and makes them more willing to cooperate when you need them to.
It’s a great idea to get your feet wet by going to a minor league or college-level game before you go to the majors. There are a couple of reasons for this. They’re usually geared toward families, often offering family events that the major leagues don’t. They’re also usually smaller stadiums, which can be a little less intimidating to navigate with kids. If you’re in OKC, I highly recommend going to an OKC Dodgers game.
I hope these tips are helpful to you! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or have any tips for other parents who want to take their kids to sporting events!