8 Things to Consider When Bringing Your Kids to a Football Game

By Angela Andaloro

If you’ve ever been to a live football game, you know what an exciting experience it can be. What better place to make incredible memories cheering on your team! However, attending games can be a little more complicated when you've got kids.

Every family feels differently about bringing kids to a football game, but there are two typical approaches. Some families bring their kids to games when they are as young as possible to get used to the environment and sitting through the full game. Others decide to wait until their kids are old enough to really understand and enjoy.

Regardless of which camp your family is in, there are certain things you need to know before bringing your youngsters to a football game.

Little ones may get in for free

There are only four stadiums among NFL teams that do not allow free admission for children under certain conditions. The Philadelphia Eagles are one of eighteen teams in the league that offer free admission to children under the age of two at Lincoln Financial Field.

Three stadiums allow free admission for children under three years old and another two for children under one. Five NFL stadiums allow free entry to children under a certain height (32-34 inches).

Safety first!

When preparing to take kids to a game, consider safety matters based on your child’s individual needs, age, and level of maturity.

For kids who are old enough to wander off, make sure you have a safety plan in place if anyone gets separated. For little ones, a change of clothes and extra supplies can be a lifesaver in case of a diaper blowout. Remember, the noise can be intense for kids of all ages, so consider noise-canceling headphones or earplugs.

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Plan ahead to keep them entertained

Your best bet is to stop at a dollar store before the game and load up on things that won’t be heartbreaking to lose. Small toys and books are best and can entertain the little ones when it counts.

Keep in mind that many stadiums limit fans to clear bags of a specific size to pass through security, so it makes the most sense to store any toys you want to bring in ziplock bags.

Tailgating has pros and cons

Tailgating can be a lot of fun and add to the overall experience. The parking lot is usually filled with families, so the kids will probably find new friends to play with. This gives everyone a chance to play games and socialize and may even give the grown-ups a few moments of adult time before heading into the game.

However, it also makes the day longer, which means some kids are less likely to make it through the entire game. Some families choose to enjoy tailgating but go home to watch the game. This could be a cost-effective way to gauge how much your family enjoys the experience and if the kids are ready to enjoy the game itself.

Factor in the weather

Depending on where you’re located and what season, you’ll need some weather-related supplies to enjoy game day. Consider bringing sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses you get through hours in the hot sun when attending late summer and early fall games. Winter games call for hats, gloves, coats, and blankets. No matter when you go, think layered clothing and easy-to-carry essentials. Since many seats are not under a roof, items like rain ponchos and sun visors are lifesavers that are easy to pack.

Get a feel for what the stadium offers

If you take a quick walk around with your kids, you’ll see all the stadium has to offer. The atmosphere is fantastic to take in, but it also serves a practical purpose. Doing this allows you to see where the bathrooms are relative to your seats and provides the opportunity to choose a meet-up location in the event you get separated. Use your tour to locate important spots like nursing rooms and changing stations. With older kids, it’s a great time to cover spending limits for food and team merchandise so that they can choose where and how to spend.

You can (probably) bring food

Make sure to check the rules of your stadium, but many venues allow you to bring in certain foods. Thankfully, this makes it easy to bring small foods like toddler snacks, which come in handy with picky eaters who may not love stadium offerings. This also means you may be able to bring in some leftovers from the tailgate with the help of handy ziplock bags.

Know when to call it quits

Not every child is built to withstand a game that’s as loud, crowded, and long as football games are. It’s not the end of the world if your kid doesn’t make it through the entire game.

As frustrating as it can be to ditch early, kids will come away with vivid memories of the whole experience. Leaving when they’ve had enough will mean they remember the fun they had rather than the agony of having to stay when miserable. Happy memories mean they will be excited for the next time!

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