If you’re a big sports fan, passing that passion for your home team on to your children might be your goal. Taking them to their first sporting event can be a fun time while you introduce professional sports to them. There’s no right age to take your child to a sporting event, but you can always practice by taking them to a smaller-scale game, such as a local high school football match. 

Regarding a large stadium and crowd, it will take some more preparation if you plan to go with younger children. Be prepared to miss parts of the game if your child needs the bathroom or food, feels sick, requires your attention, wants a snack, or begs to go home early. 

If you think your child is ready to go to a large sporting event with you, here are some tips for preparing your child and what to bring.

Let Them Know What to Expect

The best way to prepare your kids for a big sporting event is to tell them what to expect, so they don’t become overwhelmed by the large crowd or loud noises. You’ll want to let them know there will most likely be a lot of walking from the parking lot to the seats, they’ll have to stay seated most of the time, and the bathrooms might not be as easily accessible. 

You can also tell them what to expect from concession stands and whether or not they should expect to get food there. If you’re planning to save some money, make sure your kids understand what they can and cannot get from the concession. You can also make your kids aware of when you can take them to visit the stands, such as during half-time, so they don’t beg to go when you’re the most invested in the game. 

No one wants to think about getting lost, but you should also come up with a family plan just in case you get separated. Check online if the stadium has a policy for lost children and/or parents. At Providence Park, parents looking for their child should report to the Guest Services Center. 

You can also discuss what your child should do if they are lost, such as: 

  • Stay where they are when they realize they are lost
  • Look for a security guard or police officer wearing a uniform to tell them they are lost
  • If they can’t find an officer, look for a food stand worker to ask for help

 Pack a Family-Friendly Stadium Bag 

Check the stadium’s bag policy to see what kind of carrier is accepted. Most stadiums allow clear bags only, though some may have more leniency on diaper bags that are not see-through. You’ll want to be strategic with what you include in your bag as you don’t want it to be too heavy but also have everything you need for taking children to a sporting event. 

Some things to consider packing are: 

  • Wipes for messy hands, faces, and furniture
  • Snacks (if allowed) — letting your child choose which snacks they want to bring can help them stay happy even if they can’t get what they want from the concession stand
  • Games, books, a notepad for drawing or coloring, and coloring utensils to keep kids entertained when they get bored
  • Noise-canceling headphones for infants, toddlers, or children that are more sensitive to noise. It will help them feel less stressed by the loud stadium sounds
  • Sealed or empty water bottles to fill inside the stadium
  • Sunscreen, portable fans, hats, or jackets (depending on the weather)

 Build Up Realistic Anticipation

While your child may not be interested in the sport you want to watch, you can get them excited about other things. If they like nachos, you can tell them a few days before that they can look forward to eating a big box of it. You can have them pick out their own piece of memorabilia to commemorate the event, especially if it’s their first time. Share your favorite parts about watching a sporting event and what you’re excited about to build up their anticipation. 

But most of all, let them know how happy and excited you are to share this special experience with them. The priceless bonding time will make it a memorable occasion for you and your child.