K-State football season is in full swing (the only team in the KC area winning … cough, cough) and that means tailgates, kettle corn and convincing a toddler that Goldfish crackers and clapping are enough entertainment for four hours.
I know. Lots of people think tailgating isn’t the best place to bring kids. But why not? Sure, some concessions DO have to be made to the pre-kid style of tailgating, but it’s totally worth the effort to bring this tradition to our son. Henry’s initiation begins this weekend!
Henry attended his first football game last year at just a few weeks old. I nursed in the first aid tent and changed diapers on my lap. That was small potatoes compared to entertaining a squirmy toddler for four quarters. So I have a few ideas to make the experience a little friendlier for all of us.
• Choose a great location. Arrange your tables and vehicles so that the kids’ play area is blocked from thru traffic and you can keep a close watch on them.
• As in all toddler outings, I’ve found that snacks in small bags are key to sanity. Our favorites are the aforementioned Goldfish, Life cereal, apple slices and lots of water. This kills time while the hot dog is being grilled and the little man demands food RIGHT NOW. Curious about some creative tailgating food options for kids? Check out Livestrong’s list.
• Definitely use the buddy system. If other parents are helping keep watch on all the kids, everyone’s less likely to act out and get hurt.
• For the bigger kids, bring plenty of pre-game activities. Think simple, fun, and close by.
• Don’t forget to bring protection from the sun and heat, whether it be a hat or sunscreen.
• Kid tunes. It’s a family event, so you’ve got to take one for the team when it comes to music. Be sure to switch up your playlist between kid and adult favorites.
• Kid-friendly seating. The logistics of balancing a paper plate of food and sploshing drink becomes more difficult while holding a 20-pound toddler on your hip. It’s not an option to set him on the hot parking lot blacktop, but he’s not big enough to sit at a picnic table or in his own chair. Enter the portable high chair, now at the top of my coveted items list.
Ultimately when I look beyond the logistics of snacks, highchairs, bucket hats and sippy cups, I see a little boy who is learning to love a culture I grew up in — the songs, the cheers, the tailgating and bowl games. He’s a boy after his mother’s heart.
LWTK’s mommy blogger, Sarah, is attempting to be a good mama to little Henry, wife to Shea, full-time employee and part-time grad student all while avoiding making dinner from a box every night. In her non-existent free time, she’s running, eating popcorn and blogging about it all at The Gatsby Diaries.