Dos and Don'ts of sports

Taking your kids to a baseball game: A guide from a single parent

Here are the dos and don'ts of taking children to the game. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

I took my daughter to the Astros game recently. Usually during the summer, I like to take the afternoon off and go to day games. First, they are cheaper, and second, it’s just less stressful when there are less people in the ballpark.

We met up with a friend who has two kids, and the two adults to three kids ratio was difficult to manage. Parents with more than two kids are heroes. But an evening game can be fun with all of the excitement especially with the home team being really good now.

Having done the difficult leg work, I’ve come up with a list of dos and don’ts for taking your kids to sporting events:

Dos:

  • Do set expectations early about what you will and will not be purchasing at the game. For example: “I will be buying you cotton candy and a Sprite, because it’s Friday night and I’m a cool mom, but I will not be buying a $13 Astros-branded fidget spinner because, while I am cool, I know you will lose it immediately.”
  • Do limit yourself to two beers. For some reason baseball game beers seem to affect some of us more than regular home beers.

  • Do purchase cheap seats and then move down and sit in the 100 section. This should be a no-brainer, and I promise you the team does not care.

  • Do keep your kids engaged by actually talking to them through the game. I like to explain to mine what everything on the scoreboard means and who each of the players are.

Don’ts:

  • Don't take the train to the game. Many of you won’t have this problem as you probably live far enough away that it’s just impractical. I am a five-minute walk from Wheeler Station, so we often take the train. But when it’s 100 degrees outside with 80 percent humidity this is a poor decision. Also, you’ll be with the night train people when the game is over - less than ideal!!

  • Don't let your child run up and down the aisles during at bats. I cannot stress this enough. I wrote about this baffling trend a couple of weeks ago on Houston Sports and Stuff and it’s like Astros fans have been trolling me ever since. 

  • Don't let people make you feel like a bad fan for leaving a game early. The second inning of a recent baseball game was approximately 15 hours long. At 9:30 pm it was only the fourth inning of a baseball game that ended with the Astros and Twins not scoring after the fifth. I had an ornery 5-year-old who had spilled two Sprites and been awake for 13 straight hours.

Follow these simple rules, and you’ll have an amazing time at the game and keep yourself generally sane.

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