Surviving (and Enjoying) Sporting Events with Kids

September 9, 2016

I attended my first Brigham Young University football game when I was 3 months old, and have been to countless games since, mostly due to the fact that my parents have been season ticket holders for over 30 years, and I attended school there.  Some of my fondest memories from my childhood, teenage, and college years come from BYU games I have attended.  This is especially true because when I was attending BYU, going to sporting events WAS my social life most of the time.  In the fall we had football, women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball.  In the winter, there was basketball.  In the spring, there was men’s soccer and rugby.  And none of this takes into account the fact that I have 5 siblings, and at some points, we had no less than 7 soccer games our family members were playing in on any given Saturday.  So obviously, attending sporting events is important to me, and I have wanted to continue.

With that being said, going to sporting events, especially at big venues, is really hard to do with kids sometimes!  So, I have compiled a list of tips that my family has used over the years to make it a bit easier.

Tip #1:  If at all possible, try to have another adult with you.  My grandma Keddington came to every single BYU football home game with my family up until her death in 2001.  One of my parents also came, along with 2 kids.  This was helpful because if my mom or dad had to take a kid to the bathroom or something, my grandma was always there to keep track of the other one.  Plus, when you have young children with you, you can take turns holding them, entertaining them, or taking them out to change their diapers, etc.

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This is Jeff and I before we got married, with our nephew, Max (who was 3 at the time), at a Real Salt Lake soccer game.  Notice that Max had his own seat, but preferred to switch off whose lap he sat on.

Tip #2:  Do more than just attend the game.  By this I mean, do other fun things on this outing, besides just going to the game.  I can’t even count the number of stupid foam footballs we had growing up because we ALWAYS went to the tailgate party across from Cougar (now LaVell Edwards) Stadium in Provo, Utah.  There was always a football toss, and we–mostly meaning, my brothers–caught a football a couple of times a season.  The tailgate party isn’t even that fun as an adult, but as kids, it was awesome!  I loved how going to the tailgate party in addition to the game made it a whole experience–there was music, food, contests, and lots of fun.  I feel like it was one of the only times where, no matter what set of siblings went to the game, we all got along.  If there is no tailgate party going on, take lunch (or dinner) and go eat at a park, or go out to dinner somewhere.  But if you can make it memorable, your kids will look back on those times with such fondness.  Even as adults, when my siblings and I were attending BYU, we always went to dinner before or after the football games when my parents came to Provo.  I cherish those memories, too.

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Even when we don’t attend the games in person, my family is still known for still getting together and making a big deal out of games.

Tip #3:  Food, food, food.  When I was growing up, we could still bring food into every stadium we went into.  So my mom would often pack lunch for us to eat at the games.  Sometimes, we would even leave at halftime, walk down the street, and pick up a pizza to bring back to the game.  Now, that’s not even an option.  But we still tend to feed the children in our family food and drink throughout the games.  Popcorn is perfect because it is easy to make it last a long time–one piece of popcorn at a time.  Even when we go to games not in college or professional stadiums, we bring food for the kids in our family.  Definitely a way to keep them content!

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Even now, my mom always brings drinks and food for all of the grandkids when we all go to games together.  This is Adeline and Henry at a recent soccer game.

Tip #4:  If at a college or professional stadium, take your small children out occasionally.  Attending a sporting event that is at a big stadium or arena, is hard sometimes.  It is important to take a break sometimes by taking your child somewhere that they can walk or run around.  That way, they can get the wiggles out and it will be easier to get them to stay in one place during the game.

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At a recent game we went to, we took Adeline out to run around for a bit during halftime.

Tip #5:  Bring earplugs for the little ones.  When we first took Adeline to games, we always brought earplugs for her.  We found some at Cabela’s, but ones like these found on Amazon would also work great.  Adeline doesn’t tend to keep them in her ears anymore (nor does she get startled or upset by the sound very often), but I sure wish she would.  I would suggest bringing some for your babies.

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Apparently it was a little too loud for Adeline at this particular game…  Oops.

Going to games with my family is something I have cherished for many, many years.  I hope to enjoy it for years to come, and I hope that these tips will help you to have a fun time, too!  Now, go make those memories!!!

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Oh, and go Cougars! 😉
More about Shannon Packer

Hi! Thanks for stopping by! My name is Shannon Packer and I am married to my best guy, Jeff. We have a daughter named Adeline. I started this blog to keep our families updated on our lives since we have moved far away. But I will also be posting about parenting, life in general, and finding joy in the journey. Enjoy!

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