Once the minions became mobile toddlers, sporting events, or any activities where they were "contained" in a crowded arena became significantly less appealing to us. We usually hired a sitter for most sporting events between the age of 18 months and beyond, until this past weekend. Chris decided that it was time for us to bring them out to an AHL hockey game and see if they were ready.
With the minions BW (Before Walking) at Safeco Field in Seattle
Here are our 10 Tips to Survive a Sporting Event with Pre-schoolers and not lose your mind.
- Talk the event up ahead of time. Give a summary of what your kids should expect at the game and talk about how awesome it will be for them to have their own seats and be a part of the crowd.
- Forget any chances of arriving early to get that free promotional swag they're offering up to the first 1,000 attendees. Every extra minute that you're at the stadium before the game is a minute sooner that your children will get bored. No matter how cool that bobble head is, I can assure you that it's just not worth it.
- Consider at least a two adults for every child, if you can. This makes everything easier and provides for an extra set of helping hands and distraction.
- Pick your seats wisely. I would suggest aisle seats that are reasonably close to both the bathroom and the snack vendors.
- Try securing two rows of seats if there is a decent sized group of you. This allows your children to sit behind friends and family, so you don't need to constantly apologize to strangers when they get a case of "the Jimmy Legs" and kick people repeatedly throughout the game.
- Ply them with snacks. A treat to eat during the game is a good way to encourage best behaviour. We are not above bribing the minions.
- Cheer loudly, clap your hands, start chants. Give them a chance to experience the beauty of fandom, and yell at the top of their lungs when their team scores a "GOOOOAALL".
- At breaks in play or period breaks, let them run. We spent each intermission between periods letting the kids run around the open space on the upper bowl and up and down the bleacher stairs to burn off some energy.
- Try visiting the mascot. This can be really exciting to wee ones. Sometimes venues will run Family Day games where there are extra mascots, prizes and activities geared for children - consider going to one of these games.
- Resign yourself to the fact you are going to miss some of the game and it's usually easier to leave for home a few minutes early so you aren't trying to navigate through huge crowd.
After the game on the way home I mentioned to Chris that I'd done the math and that the cost of the extra tickets and snacks was comparable, or maybe even more expensive than hiring a babysitter and attending the game by ourselves. Chris smiled and said, "But they had soooo much fun". I looked back at the sugar crashed minions fast asleep in the back of the car and had to agree. It was worth it, just not for EVERY game. I think Chris may be ordering an extra ticket or two for some baseball games this summer to go to a game with dad, Grandma and Grandpa.
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