As adults, many of us love sports and often would like to incorporate a big game, match, or event into our travels. Whether that is spring training in Florida or a trip to another great destination to see favourite team, adding a sporting event to your travels can be a rewarding experience.
Here are a few considerations you should make before you take your young kids, no matter how much you think they will love it to a sporting event, especially for their first time.
The Individual Child
Children are people too! This comes as a great surprise to many parents but just because you are a huge fan of a particular sport does not mean your kids will be as well. Know your kids and how long they will sit and watch something and this will help you make a decision. My son’s first live game was at age five. Once the bouncy castles were played on and the hot dogs were consumed, we made it to half time before he was absolutely done with it all. This year at eight, he stayed for an entire football game for the first time, but only watched about 3/4 and played games on the iPad the rest of the time. I consider this a small victory. I would never consider taking a baby to game. You will likely not enjoy it and neither will most of those around you…however this one is up to everyone individually.
Let’s all face it, professional sports can be expensive. Tickets, souvenirs, food, and parking all add up fast when you are taking an entire family. One way to cut costs a little bit is look for tickets in a family zone. Usually the kid’s tickets will come at a significant discount when accompanying an adult.
This can ruin your day quickly if you are not prepared. Stadium policies are not always uniform for every different sporting event they host. If you want to take a baby with you, for soccer the baby might be able to sit on your lap, but for football the event might dictate that they need a seat. Review these policies before buying tickets.
Bag policies are another tricky subject if you have kids with you because they tend to come with accessories. Many venues and events have specific rules in place with regards to what you can and cannot take into the stadium. Nothing will ruin your day faster than being told you can’t take you expensive, laptop, tablet, camera, or anything else in with you.
This is perhaps the stickiest of all the considerations I mention. Competitiveness, passion, and alcohol can be a dangerous mix. I have never seen a situation deteriorate to violence, but I have seen instances of loud, cursing, obnoxious fans yelling and screaming. Every stadium and situation has a different dynamic and some are more notorious than others i.e. Google: Black Hole, Oakland. The family section tickets I mentioned earlier can be a real asset; some stadiums also do not allow alcohol sales to people in these sections. It can be as simple however as adults playing catch in the stadium parking lot and not being aware of their surroundings. A small child could easily be run through to get that ball so I advise always being aware of your surroundings. You are to a certain extent taking your children into an adult environment. Protect them, but do so by being aware of how quickly situations can change and avoid risk.
As always, knowledge and planning are power. The more aware you are in advance will ensure that you are ready for different eventualities. My last piece of advice, if you child is no longer having fun, it is time to move on, hopefully next time they will enjoy it more. If you try and force it on them, it will guarantee they won’t want to come back next time, and that your day will end in frustration.
Happy and safe travels.