For many, the idea of bringing their little ones to a professional sporting event is crazy talk. In my family, it happens on a regular basis. My three-year old is as much of a Flames fan as my husband and I are. She knows many of the players’ names and numbers, and she is not impressed when anyone mentions “those guys from Edmonton.” As a matter of fact, my husband and daughter are at a game right now!
If you are like us and want to share pro-sports with your child/children, there are a few pointers that have worked for us, and I’d love to share them with all of you. Hopefully they will help to make your experiences as wonderful as ours have been.
First, do a trial run. Before Hannah went to any games, we took her to a practice session at the Saddledome. This helped to show her the size of the arena, as well as give us a chance to see what her attention span was like. She was all excited during the practice, though she still wonders why the Flames get to wear such colourful jerseys at practice and not at real games.
Next, don’t spend a lot of money on tickets. We have found that the cheaper the tickets, the more family friendly the seats are. Ours are quite high and there are a lot of kids around us. Plus, if your child doesn’t make it past the first face-off, you haven’t spent a lot of money for nothing.
Have a back-up plan. For us, the iPod Touch works well. When Hannah gets antsy (usually close to the end of the second period), she plays a few games on the iPod. By the time the third period rolls around, she is ready to watch again. I can’t say that I blame her, as there are times that I start to zone out in the second too.
I encourage you to feed your child before the game and make sure they use the washroom at home. This is really important for us because one, they don’t offer a lot of non junk food or non-soda drink options in the higher seats, and it would be awkward for my husband to bring Hannah in the bathroom with him. One tip that he has discovered with regard to beverages is that if you go to one of the bars within the facility, they usually have juice on hand for mixers.
Be sure to talk to your child beforehand about the language they might hear at the game. This was my biggest fear about pro-sports. I had visions of Hannah coming home and cursing me out the next day at breakfast. We simply sat her down and explained that there is adult talk and kid talk, and that if she heard anything that she had never heard us say before, that she should ask us before saying it in public. I must admit that the folks in the seats around ours have been very polite and courteous, especially when they see that Hannah is there. So far we haven’t had any issues in this area.
And finally, be flexible. As with most things, when kids are involved, nothing goes according to plan. With that said, it might be best to avoid a game that you really want to see from start to finish when you are with your little one. You might even want to test the waters first with a Hitmen game or other sporting event that isn’t quite so costly. We have never taken Hannah to see the Hitmen play, though I have been told that their games are very family friendly. She has been to a Roughnecks lacrosse match and she loved that as well.
All in all, hockey games have provided my husband and daughter many fun nights out. They have also given me some much needed nights in by myself. Though I will admit, rather than drinking wine and taking a bubble bath while they’re gone, I’m usually on the couch watching the game on television!!
Sharon is a New England girl who never imagined that she’d find herself living in Canada. She has a wonderful husband and together they created a Diva Monster. Follow her on her crazy journeys at Nanas Button Jar!!