Sunday, September 26, 2010

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Football season is upon us, and down in the south where I'm from, going to a college football game is a typical Saturday activity. When your family expands with little ones, does that mean you need to give up sporting events all together until the kids are older? Definitely not! Here are some tips on how to survive game day with kids.

- Check with the stadium ahead of time about rules on bag sizes, strollers and cameras (you have to capture little one’s first football game, right?) There would be nothing worse than being told in the ticket line that your diaper bag is too big and cannot be taken into the game or that strollers are not allowed.

- Speaking of diaper bags, stock yours with extra diapers or undies, a change of clothes and lots of wipes! This will have you covered if your child has an accident during the game.

- Food and drinks are a must! Plan on feeding your child (either a snack or a meal) during the game. Check ahead of time what foods and drinks are available at the stadium to determine if you need to pack your own snacks or if you can buy food at the game. Also check on the rules of bringing your own food into the game. You may be able to get away with food and snacks for toddlers and babies. Eating always allows kids to happily pass the time and will hopefully help you stay longer at the game.

- One personal tip…we took our kids to a football game last weekend and brought our travel high chair for our one year-old. He happily ate lunch and snack strapped to the stadium’s bench in his travel chair. This was key to lasting as long as we did at the game. And it was a much better alternative to holding him the entire game!

- Pick up any promotional items being passed out at the beginning of the game. It is (free) entertainment (our four year-old loved playing with the pom-poms most of the game) and a great souvenir to take home to remember your fun day.

- Consider the noise level of the game before you go. Do you think the cheering, bands and fireworks might scare your kids? If so, pack ear plugs or noise-canceling headphones to drown out some of the sound for them, not to mention, protect their hearing.

- Be flexible. Understand up front that you more than likely won’t make it through the whole game. Look at the game as an adventure and however long you make it is a success. Also be willing to walk around the stadium with toddlers who don’t want to be held for long periods of time.

- Be mindful of the weather. If it is blazing hot, bring sunscreen for your kids (and yourself!)Have them drink plenty of water throughout the game. If it is going to be cold, bring warm coats and even a stadium blanket. Protect your kids from the elements as much as possible.
- Don’t forget your sanitizing wipes! Wash their hands with the wipes frequently, and even consider wiping down the bench before you sit down if the seats look grungy.

- Change diapers right before you go into the game. Sometimes the diaper changing stations inside stadiums are less than favorable.

Are you feeling brave enough to try to root on your favorite team next weekend? If so, head to the stadium and have a great time! Give us your tips, too, on what worked/didn’t work for you at the next home game.

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