Tailgating season is back! As adults, we think of this season as a time for friends, healthy competition, drinks, and good times. But it isn’t always this way for kids. Tailgates can easily turn into a nightmare. With so many people, distractions, and noises, it is easy for kids to feel out of place and overwhelmed. We know you want your little one to enjoy the game as much as you do! So here are a few tips to help make your family football outing a success.
It goes without saying that you need to pack a lot before going to the game. You need to remember the essentials, like diapers, wipes, a changing pad, an extra set of clothes, snacks, and drinks. You will want to be as equipped as possible, without weighing yourself down. Most stadiums will allow strollers but check their website ahead of time for rules and other regulations. If your child is in the 1-3 age group, a stroller is probably your best bet so they can be comfortable and in their own space. If they are between 3-6, it is probably easier to opt for bringing a wagon, so they can walk alongside you or hop in and out as needed, making them more involved in the day.
According to the Starky hearing foundation, hearing protection is required for anything above 90 decibels. Football stadiums can get up to 88 decibels, which is dangerously close to Starky’s warning. Children have especially sensitive hearing and need to be cared for with extra precautions. We highly recommend bringing along some sort of ear protection to the game for your child. Foam earbuds are the most comfortable option, but for maximum protection, you should consider full-coverage protective earmuffs. Nowadays, there are so many options that you can even match your child’s ear protection to your favorite team’s colors so they can be safe while supporting in style!
Sports and alcohol tend to go hand in hand. While everyone loves to enjoy a good beer or cocktail while watching the game, this can very easily lead to issues. If you are the driving parent, try enjoying a mocktail (alcohol-free cocktail) instead! This will allow you to enjoy a delicious drink without running the risk of getting tipsy. You can even share this drink with the kids so they can join in on the fun! There are so many fun recipes on Pinterest that use seasonal flavors and taste just like the real thing. Try theming it to your team or mixing up your own creative concoction!
Football season always seems to start off in the dead heat of the summer and end during the coldest time of the year. This is definitely something to keep in mind before buying your tickets! In the warmer months, make hydration a priority and keep track of how much water both you and your child drink. It is a great idea to bring along a water bottle that has the ounces marked on the side, so you can keep precise track of your little one’s fluid intake. In the colder months, make sure the whole family is dressed appropriately and your toddler is well-equipped for the long game ahead. It is always a good idea to bring a few extra layers, like scarves and hats, as well as hand and body warmers.
When planning ahead, pack snacks that can easily withstand a long day and don’t require refrigeration or reheating. Some great options are most baby foods, bananas, applesauce, fruit snacks, crackers, and granola. Don’t be too surprised if your child doesn’t eat much that day, as there will be a lot of excitement and it might be hard for them to focus on their regular eating habits. Just make sure they have a hearty and well-rounded breakfast that will fuel them right and continuously check-in to see if they want anything else. When at the game, stray from feeding your child anything too new to them or too greasy, as it could upset their stomach and make for a long and unpleasant day ahead.
Your child’s first tailgate is a big deal! While there is a decent amount of prep that needs to go into it, we hope you enjoy each moment and take in the day. Tailgates are a great way for families to bond and to expose children to new ideas. Learning about some friendly competition at a young age will only help them later in life and this first game could potentially foster a future passion for sports. These “firsts” in your child’s life may seem daunting, but they will become some of your favorite memories that will last a lifetime!