10 Tips for Attending Sporting Events with Kids
Here are my top 10 tips for making sporting events easier with kids, and hopefully enjoyable along the way!
Get your kid excited about the sport they are about to view. Plan some activities with your kids before you attend the sporting event- find famous moments that team is known for, pick a favorite player, buy some face paint in the team's colors, pick out a t-shirt with the team logo.
See if the team you support has a fan club. The Chicago Bulls offer an official kids club called Bulls Kid Nation. You can choose between two membership options, sign up here:
The All-Star ($35): Bulls Nation Hat, Water Bottle, Backpack, Membership Certificate, Bulls Kid Nation Passport, Pocket Schedule
The Rookie (Free): Membership Certificate, Bulls Kid Nation Passport, Pocket Schedule
Let's face it, professional sporting events can be expensive and seats are a set price (i.e. no discount for kids). Also, if you go during a regular game, you probably won't encounter many other families, which can lead to more serious fans who might not appreciate an energetic kid behind them. Some sports teams have family days which offer discounted tickets, ticket packages which include food, special activities for kids and giveaways.
The Chicago Bulls have four family game days for their 2017-2018 season, and tickets are only $25 and include a jumbo hot dog, potato chips, and a soft drink/bottled water. Grab tickets here and use code "Family"
- Sunday, 11/26 vs. Miami Heat, Presented by Dover Corporation
- Monday, 1/15 vs. Miami Heat
- Sunday, 1/28 vs. Milwaukee Bucks, Presented by Advocate Health Care
- Sunday, 4/1 vs. Washington Wizards
I mean, how many times do you want to excuse yourself to a dozen people when your kid has to go to the bathroom again? Easy access in and out means less stress when you gotta go. Also, if you need to leave early you won't cause as much commotion.
The special guest can be a friend from school, a cousin, grandparent or neighborhood kid. Just make sure the guest is reasonably well-behaved and understands that since they are with your family, they need to abide by the family rules. The point is to bring more people for distraction if the game doesn't hold their interest 100% of the time (it happens, believe me).
If your child is like mine, just the sight of cotton candy sends them into a tailspin of the gimmies. Pile on the lure of nachos, sno cones, popcorn and other not so healthy food, your kid might have a sugar high (and resulting crash) during the game.
Not to mention that all these purchases take a toll on the budget. Try to grab a meal before the game, whether it is at a local restaurant or via a brown bag in the car.
Obviously if you are attending a late season football game you need to bring every piece of warm gear imaginable plus a blanket. Being cold is a total mood killer and whine trigger. Hockey games can be fairly chilly as well, so dress in layers. Sunglasses and sunscreen are a MUST when shade isn't available.
Other elements include kids that might be potty training...yep, I took my 3 year old son to his first Cubs game when he was potty training. NOT SMART. Also, my daughter will inevitably drip ketchup on all articles of clothing. For both of these scenarios, I brought a spare stash of clothes.
And they are going...all...the...way.... "MOM! I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM NOW!" Kids usually realize they have to go to the bathroom when something exciting happens in a game, and at the exact minute you actually want to watch. Head them off at the pass by insisting that as soon as your ticket is scanned you hit the head.
This is the perfect time to teach kids about budgets. Try to get a ballpark for how much food and souvenirs cost before you go, then set an appropriate amount together. Put it in writing if your kids can read, and whip it out if any arguments arise. Saying yes is a slippery slope to spending all your dough. Another option is to purchase something and keep it at home as a surprise for after the game.
After the first 30 minutes of most sporting events, our kids start getting antsy. I am hoping that this time is proportionate to their age, meaning the older they get the longer they can be engaged in the game before their attention wanes.
I have found that any Melissa and Doug Scratch Art Book is ideal in this situation for preschoolers and kindergartners. I can stash it in my purse and it lasts the whole game, allowing them to drop it and pick it back up periodically. I am not a fan of video games at sporting events- they tend to be annoying to others and drown out the game, defeating the purpose of going.
In addition to setting expectations for our children (behavior, goodies, etc...), I have to adjust my own expectations. My husband and I set a time limit based upon our educated guess of how long our kid can last. If they surpass that, fabulous- we stay longer. We don't, however, force our kids to sit still for hours on end if they just aren't that into it. The point is sharing something enjoyable together.
Enter the Bulls Kid Nation Giveaway of 2 Kid Nation Memberships and 4 tickets to the Family Day Game vs. Miami on 11/26 HERE and put all of these tips into practice with your family!
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