advice for going to a game with a 1 year old

Submitted by chickenpotpie on August 5th, 2017 at 11:50 PM
hey everyone! my husband desperately wants to take our daughter to a game this season. she'll be 1 in october. we're likely going to the cincinatti game, and potentially sparty. aside from thinking we're crazy (understandable), any advice for making it bearable? we'll be driving from MD. thanks!!



August 6th, 2017 at 12:01 AM ^

I wouldn't. You won't have a good time, and frankly it's not good for the kid either (noise, sun). Wait until next year and go to the Spring Game. It's free, parking close is easier, there's readmission if you have to run out, and security is usually a lot more lax. They won't even let you bring diaper bags in on game day.

Basketball games are another option. We took my son to one of the games during spring break where Chrysler was pretty empty and it was fun for him.


August 7th, 2017 at 9:40 AM ^

I've taken my oldest two (4 and almost 3 this year and 3 and almost 2 last year) to the spring games and that was fun. However, this year had way more people than last year and it was a lot harder.  I had to stop to go take them to pee, go get something to eat, go pee again. I'm taking them to a high school game this year where one of my coworker's son is the starting QB.  

I've also taken them to tailgates and plan to to so this year where we watch the game from the tailgate. Not as good for watching the game, but it is far better for us with the kids. My oldest actually took his first meaningful steps on the golf course, so that is awesome. 


August 6th, 2017 at 7:09 AM ^

The child will not remember it, and you will not have a good experience. Plus, adults are debating about the logic of attending the MSU game at night (the likely game time). Taking any small child, let alone a 1 year old, is insane. 

Sorry for being so blunt, but you are the responsible adults. 

Year of Revenge II

August 6th, 2017 at 8:19 AM ^

I cannot say that I feel it is irresponsible, but it is obviously for you and not the kid.

Probably just over-anxious to share his love for Michigan.  Patience is my advice; there will be plenty of time for that, and it will be much muore rewarding than taking the 1-yr old to the game.  I started going at about age 7, and it was all positive for me.


August 6th, 2017 at 12:02 AM ^

Nothing you do will change that.
Don't do it. It will be for you, and photo ops, etc...but seriously. I did so much "for my kids" when they were small. They don't remember, nor do they even appreciate the sentiment. Meanwhile, it will be tough for you to enjoy it.


August 6th, 2017 at 12:04 AM ^

I have a six year old and a three year old. The six year old could definitely do it (at least until half time and she got bored). The three year old could probably do it but it would be rough (he just sat through a three hour plane flight, but it involved a lot of watching a tablet). 

One year old? No fucking way.


August 6th, 2017 at 12:10 AM ^

One parent will end up watching the game while the other will end up trying to keep the baby content out in the concourse. Not worth the cost and trouble and the marital conflict it may cause.


August 6th, 2017 at 4:32 PM ^

I took my 1+ year old last year because I wanted to spend a weekend in Ann Arbor with my wife and kid and wanted to go to the game. Our collective parents live in Massachusetts and South Xarolina so leaving them with the grandparents was not an option and getting a baby sitter that we had no clue about also was not really an option.

My wife spent at least 1/2 the time on the concourse with my daughter running around. My daughter was plenty happy doing it and the times she was sitting in the seats she was fine. But you can only corral toddlers for so long.

I would say if you have the option to get a babysitter you should probably do it because it's not worth spending the money on the kids ticket. If your husband is diehard set on this, then one of you is gonna spend time on the concourse for awhile and that's your choice.

Go Blue Rosie

August 6th, 2017 at 12:15 AM ^

MSU might be a night game and the atmosphere will be really chaotic- I would avoid that one entirely.

I've taken both my kids to games at various young ages. If I could do it over I would have skipped when they were between 1-3. But...if you are going to do it with a one year old, here is my advice:

-Don't expect to see the whole game. You will probably have to leave to find shade, cool off or get away from the noise at various intervals. Know that in advance. Scout out restrooms, shady areas, concessions with water before you get settled.

-Sunscreen and a hat are a must for Sept games.

-Be okay with leaving early. I hate leaving games before the final second ticks away but with a little one you may have to.

-No diaper bags but I think you can bring diapers and baby things in a smaller clear bag. Check online.

-Sit higher up/in the end zones. As you go lower folks tend to cram in more. You will want extra space.

-If your little one is small enough, use a soft wearable carrier. My son slept on me for the second half of the Iowa game a few years ago. I had him in a wrap style carrier. He faced out for the first half and then I turned him toward me and he fell asleep.

-Consider ear protection of some kind for them. There are little headphones you can get. It gets really loud!

Good luck!

Mr. Yost

August 6th, 2017 at 12:28 AM ^

That is so much work for something that the kid will never remember.

I say buy the kid some new Michigan/Jordan gear, get your photo, and watch from home. Save the rest and in a few years when he/she can sit (or sleep) through a game...bring in the next wave of Wolverine fans.

The only caveat may be if you have access to a that case, have at it.


August 6th, 2017 at 5:46 AM ^

It's the noise and excitement of the crowd.  It will in all likelihood not be something a one year old finds pleasurable.  You will be leaving the game very early.

I and my son took my then 4 1/2 year old gramdson to his first game last fall.  We were afraid he would get bored but he loved it and although the game was a blowout and we would have left half way through the fourth quarter to get him home sooner, he wanted to stay until the end.

With a one year old, don't do it.


August 6th, 2017 at 7:28 AM ^

Do you have kids? Because I have a 1 year old now. We've taken him to 2 hockey games, the spring game, and a baseball game.

With a kid, you need constant distraction and stimulation. New toys, moving around, etc. when your cramped in a row packed like sardines in a stadium that doesn't allow you to bring anything in, where your goal is to typically to stay still and watch something, let's just say that doesn't fly.

Mr. Yost

August 6th, 2017 at 11:06 AM ^

That's kind of my point. Until they're visually stimulated by the crowd or the game itself...I personally think it's a bad idea.

You don't have enough space, you're (hopefully) trying to watch/enjoy the game, you can't bring anything in.

So unless you just have that kid that sleeps all the time in public, what's the point?

Hell, I'd think most 3rd and 4th graders can't stay still for an entire football game without getting tired or bored.

But every kid is different, I'm sure you have/had friends who have infants who'll sleep anywhere and everywhere, they sleep 6-8 hours each night without waking up. Then of course you have little ones who need more attention.

I personally just don't see the point other than the awwws and the Facebook posts to bringing a 1 year old to a game for THEM. Now if you want to attend and you have no nanny, sitter, family, etc. - I kind of get it? But I wouldn't expect to enjoy it.

Like I said, get a huge effing at home, save the coin.

Or if you can swing it...go tailgate! Hangout in the lot all game and watch it yards from the stadium. Now you have an easy get away but you can control more variables and enjoy it. That actually sounds like fun...and the photo op is still there outside the stadium.


August 6th, 2017 at 3:41 AM ^

I have done this before with babies and toddlers, and here are the most important things, just to reiterate:

1. Ear protection. Buy Peltor Earmuffs sized for children. They'll fit her, although whoever is holding her will have to support her head if she goes to sleep, because they do have some weight. You can also put children's ear plugs on her under the earmuffs if you want, but that's not really necessary.

2. If you don't think the baby should go, don't go. Let your husband do it by himself, and he can take Michigan-affiliated friends or grandparents with him if he wants help. If you aren't on board, you'll just spend the whole time annoying everyone for no reason.

3. Agree ahead of time that watching the game is secondary to having fun with the kid. This is a 4-hour trip to the park, but the park is a football stadium. The kid will enjoy looking around at your seats, maybe even for the entire time if the kid is young enough. But if the kid gets overstimulated, your husband should take her to the grass outside the stadium and play there for a while. The point should be to enjoy a day at the stadium, not to watch every play.

4. Fuck all the haters. I've done this multiple times, and it's absolutely no problem. It worked best with me, my dad, and his buddies. We passed my son back and forth a lot, he spent an entire quarter sleeping in my arms, and another entire quarter playing with my face. He flirted with our neighbors, watched the crowd, and didn't ask a single question about the football game until the second half. I even got to watch every play that game, although that was lucky. The only time it didn't work out great was when his mother came and demanded to leave with him before halftime for no reason.

Earmuffs are really the most important part of planning ahead. You will see other children crying because it's so loud. Plan ahead so you can take this in as evidence of your extreme competence at parenting.

Crisler is the same deal. 


August 7th, 2017 at 11:01 AM ^

We have 7, from 14 down to 4, and #8 due in March. Even the twins are very different in personality and what they can handle. You obviously know your child better than anyone here.

I will say that children observe and assimilate far more than we give them credit for. If part of the goal is a desire to inculcate lifelong love for Stadium Saturdays, I would expect that is doable, particularly if your plan is to have a great family day. Why just one of you on the concourse or grass? Why don't you all go? There are so many great sites and sounds and experiences.

If y'all are doing solid food yet, maybe space out one of each classic treat throughout the day. See if you can't get your hands on a football; tear up and hold some grass, anything else that provides a sensory avenue to building the overall distinctiveness of the day.

If you are going to be all about your child's experience, then their great day will be a great day for all of you, even if you miss "important" gameplay.

Repeat again at 2 yrs, and your child will not be able to remember events but will almost certainly associate the same sensory input with the positive affective composite impression from the previous visit.

I think that a lot of your responses so far have been given not as a parent planning an outing for a one year old, but fans thinking about it primarily as a spectator event. Some helpful data in many of those posts, if you can get past the vigorously adverse tone.

Hope y'all have a great time, and come out with a Wolverine lifer!

It's great
To be
A Michigan Wolverine


August 6th, 2017 at 12:15 AM ^

...make it Cinci and not 'lil brother. Be prepared to leave at halftime. There will be a point when you, your daughter, and everyone around you has had more than enough.

My son was excited to go to games a very young age. Spring scrimmage first. Then actual game. Then significant games.

IMHO, until they can sit through a (half?) game on TV, it doesn't make sense to drag them to a stadium. But if you do, hope it goes well and M wins!

Apologies my to your husband if you are using this post to say "See, I told you so!".


August 6th, 2017 at 12:16 AM ^

I still remember I was late getting in the gates for a Purdue game some years ago, missed kickoff, and a dad was walking out with his daughter, maybe 3, saying are you sure you want to leave? if we leave now we can't get back in.

Don't do it.


August 6th, 2017 at 8:35 PM ^

Yes, because a baby is any less irritating than the guy who tries to rub his Carhartts on the women in front of him. Plenty of asshats go to games when 112k are involved, so calling out parents for this reason is ridiculous. how about just think about the parents wasting time and money trying g to appease a kid instead of watching football.