I’m considering taking my toddler to a rugby game.
As your toddler gets older, they will start to experience the world around them in a more intricate fashion. As a result, you will be looking to take them to more and more outings so they can get their first experiences. One of these experiences is introducing them to sports and taking them to a professional game. While nothing is concrete or absolute since every toddler is different, there are some generalizations that are universal. Here a few tips to make your child’s first trip to a rugby game a smooth transition.
1. Prepare in advance for your toddler’s reaction to loud noise
Keep in mind a stadium full of screaming fans may be a little overwhelming for a young child. As a result, it is recommended to give them earmuffs in order to cancel out most of the crowd. Eargaurds are a simple accessory that can make all the difference in the world. There are many retail places to find earmuffs, especially Amazon and big-box retailers. Of course, all toddlers are different, and your child may immediately join the thousands of fans around them!
2. Grab souvenirs for your toddler will look back on
Rugby, like many other professional sports, has memorabilia stands at every other corner in the stadium. Many teams carry plenty of toddler-size merchandise from jackets to jerseys to shirts, hats, and so on. There are also pennants and team brand toys for your toddler to enjoy. If the stadium merchandise is a little too pricey, finding similar team merchandise on Amazon and eBay are also options. Regardless of what you decide to purchase, your toddler is sure to look back on the event and their souvenir fondly.
3. Try a minor league or club match first
Are you worried a professional game is too much for a toddler’s first time? There are smaller environments. Club teams drop large crowds, albeit not to the extent of the best players the world has to offer. Of course, these crowds are still loud enough and sizable enough to serve as a test run of sorts to make the transition a lot easier. Club teams often allow children to run around on the field after the match, which your toddler is sure to love. With the tamer crowds, a parent does not have to worry about their child potentially getting hurt due to rowdy crowds constantly surging in the stands. Your toddler will also be able to interact with the more intimate environment, making their first game more memorable.
4. Pay attention to the game’s start times
Start times are arguably the most crucial factor to consider when taking your toddler to a rugby match. A match which is starting at 8 PM likely won’t end until 10 PM. This schedule will likely not be an ideal time for your toddler. A match at 11 AM, however, would more than likely be a much better experience for them. Parents should consider their toddler’s sleep and activity schedule in mind when planning their first rugby game. Planning it around their peak activity time to where it compliments their nap schedule is the best combination when planning. It also allows you to keep your day schedule open for more tasks instead of a late game.
5. Temper your expectations
Many hardcore rugby fans dream of taking their children to their first game, hoping their toddler will learn to love rugby, too. However, it is not always an instant process. As brought up in earlier points, your toddler may be in shock from the large crowd of people and loud noises. Therefore, it’s best to be patient with them and allow them to ease into going to games. As they familiarize themselves with the matches, the transition should pick up its pace, and eventually, they will be clamoring to go. It’s a good idea to find seating where there’s room to roam as toddlers often cannot sit still for long. Giving your toddler the option to roam a little will likely have them return to sit and watch whenever they tire out.
6. Bring other supplies to prepare your toddler
Aside from the ear defenders, there are other objects which can better prepare your toddler. Sunscreen is a necessity if the rugby game is played on a sunny day. A hat to keep the sun out of your toddler’s eyes is also a huge difference-maker. A more rarely brought up item is a blanket in case your toddler falls asleep mid-match. It could be useful if you don’t want to leave during the match. Another use for a blanket is to keep your toddler warm on during games taking place on colder days. While many stadiums do not allow outside food or drinks, many do, in fact, make exceptions for babies and toddlers. Depending on the venue, bringing snacks for your toddler is a good idea to explore, especially for a picky eater.
7. Check out play areas
Many sporting events, including rugby stadiums, often have children’s play areas set up before, during, and after the game. These areas range from ball pits, moonbounces, obstacle courses, and many other activities. These areas are specifically made for your toddler, who may be restless inside the stadium. These activities even have face painting and chances to win team memorabilia and other prizes.
8. Plan your exit from the game
Whether you stay for the game’s entire duration or not, it is great to plan your exit. Toddlers tend to be unpredictable, so parents must consider they may have to leave at any moment. It is especially important for those who have fussy toddlers or toddlers going through especially moody phases. Even if all goes relatively well, there is still the ordeal of navigating the outflow of people. Such an occurrence could also become distressful for your toddler; another reason why planning to leave early is beneficial.