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Last week we took Jackson to his first Eagles game. Football has been a part of my family for a long time, my Dad had season tickets to the Eagles for over 30 years and just recently passed them down to my brother. We figured a preseason Sunday 1:00 game was a good way to introduce Jack to seeing a game live.
I’ve only been to two NFL games in my life and I wasn’t really sure what to expect when bringing a 4-year-old to a professional football game. And honestly it was a learning experience and even though we had a great time, I wish I had planned for the day a little better.
Here are 10 tips for making your child’s first NFL Game a success.
I know that sounds kind of awful but, we went in fully aware that my son might not sit for the whole game and we were right. We made it till about half time and he did fine, we mostly ended up leaving because it was nearly 100 out and we were dying in the heat. But I still don’t think he would have lasted the entire game.
Consider the Weather
The NFL plays in rain, heat or snow so make sure you pay attention to that days forecast, unless your team is lucky enough to play in a dome. We knew it was going to be hot, I did not realize that it would be so hot that you couldn’t actually sit on the seats. Next time I would definitely bring towels to put on top of the seat. Also if the weather calls for rain, make sure you have rain gear. The other game I went to there was a cold steady drizzle the entire time and I really wished I had a rain jacket. You can usually purchase inexpensive Ponchos before game day.
Plan Your Spending
Before you even park your car expect to pay. On the day we went to the Eagles game, parking at Lincoln Financial Field was $40. Inside souvenirs and food were expensive. We planned not to buy souvenirs or food at the game. But if you plan to purchase things make sure to consider how much it will cost.
Crowds are Noisy
Yes I know that sounds obvious but I completely forgot how noisy that can be to a 4-year-old, especially one who doesn’t really like loud noises. Also every time the home team scores there are fireworks, so when the team scored early in the game my son covered his ears and looked scared out of his mind. We quickly explained that the noise was a good thing because it meant our team scored. But still it was really overwhelming and if we were to go again I would consider picking up some noise canceling headphones.
Pick a Preseason Game
A preseason game is a great choice especially for little kids or kids with short attention spans. The tickets are less money, the crowds are smaller, there tend to be more kids in attendance, and if your little one won’t make it through the whole game you won’t be disappointed that you missed the big play. Also with the exception of extreme heat the weather is definitely nicer in August than it is in December.
There is lots to see at many of the NFL stadiums. Some have kids zones, play areas, character meet and greats and build a bear style shops. It can also be fun to just walk around the stadium and check out all the different views. I love the view of Philly from the Linc.
Check your Bag
Seriously check the bag restrictions before you walk to the stadium. I can’t tell you how many people I saw turned away at the gate because their bags didn’t meet the strict guidelines. Bags have to be small, about the size of a wristlet or they have to be clear. The clear bag policy is not dictated by the stadium, it is the NFL’s policy and at Lincoln Financial Field it was strictly enforced. So if you plan to bring anything bigger than a wristlet make sure it’s clear. There were many employees with signs reminding guests of the bag policy and politely giving people the option of going back to their car. For more information on the NFL bag policy check here.
Consider Alcohol Free
A football game without a beer, not in my family but maybe in yours.I was really surprised to discover that Lincoln Financial Field offers an alcohol free section for families. It gives families an opportunity to enjoy the game alcohol free and I can see how that would be enticing to some families. Even during a pre-season game we encountered some behavior that some people might not want their kids exposed to.
Do Your Research
As I told my husband going to the football game was his gig, he was responsible for planning it. But I should have known better than to rely on him to do any research. So tonight while writing this I discovered that Lincoln Financial Field has “My First Eagles Game” certificates that they give out to fans. You can also get your child a “Safe in the Seat” bracelet, which in the event that your child is lost it will help get them quickly reunited with their family.
Lincoln Financial Field along with other NFL stadiums offers free wifi. Which is great for taking pictures and sharing on social media. It is also a good way to keep up with scores from other games around the league. You can also follow along with other fans using your teams hashtag.
Taking your kid to their first NFL game is a fun experience. We had great seats for the game and I felt like for the first time I could actually see what was going on, on the field. I loved seeing my son and husband enjoying the game together, it’s those types of memories that last a lifetime and make for life long fans.