Surviving a Con with Little Kids

On June 1, 2013 we went to Comic Con with Darius' Godmama.  This was Darius' 3rd convention but the first that he was required to have a badge (photo later in the post).  We're a geeky family so conventions like Denver Comic Con and Nan Desu Kan are a must for us.  Ok since this was our first DCC I'm not sure I can say it is a must but I'm definitely down for going next year too, if we can.  Anyway, we've been through this enough I wanted to write a post about surviving a Convention with little ones.  D was just over 3 months when he was at his first one, which was Nan Desu Kan, and though I forgot a huge helper when we went to DCC (hey we had just came home from a week long vacation, cut me some slack, k? K.) luckily his Godmama was a savior and came armed with her kindle.  So without further ado rambling on my part, here is our list of essentials for surviving a convention.  Categories with * are something that may or may not work or may not even jive with your parenting ethics, lol.

Snacks and Drinks
This one may seem like a total "duh" but really make sure you're prepared enough.  I like to support the food vendors available but holy hell unless you have a huge budget for food, pack heavy to keep not only the  kiddo(s) but yourself ready to survive a long day or days.  So far we've never *knocks on wood like the superstitious nut I am* had an issue with having packed some stuff in my purse/diaper bag.  Really anyone who pitches a fit obviously doesn't have kids.  Haha.

Tablet/Phone with Kids Mode/Kindle, etc.
LIFESAVER.  I'll say this again...
Our little tablet junkie.

Seriously, y'all.  I know that we should limit how much our kids are on touch screen devices and whatnot but I can not stress enough how often this has saved us from a screaming child whether at a Con, long car ride or "mommy just needs to cook without you trying to help."  Haha.  The more games, videos, etc the better because there's more to choose from.  We personally have an Android tablet with the free version of Zoodles Kids Mode which I highly recommend.  You can get it on Android and Apple tablets, computers and phones, but it's a lot less secure on our phones than it is on the tablet in our experience.  Most of the time if they click on an in-game ad or something it won't leave the app (there have been certain games that somehow D has weasled out of the app but after removing the permission for that app we were good to go again).  Zoodles also recommends a free app weekly, and you can add and remove what is accessible through the app.  Want Angry Birds available?  Add it.  Don't want them playing a violent game you have on your tablet for you?  Well you shouldn't have to do anything because it probably won't add it without your permission.  It's awesome.  Better with an internet connection because it has several videos and games available with the connection but still great without one.

Also you can see what your child is up to on your various devices on the Zoodles website as well as add email addresses so they can send video messages to family.

This one is more if you're staying for an entire weekend like we do for Nan Desu Kan.  This way you have somewhere to go back to for naps, a break from the crowds, somewhere for the kids to run around, snack breaks and a bathroom without a line of questionably wet toilet seats.  Seriously ladies, the hovering has got to stop.  It's a lifesaver for us and at NDK the Con is held in a hotel which is nice, though we may be doing things a little differently this year.

Moby/Wrap/Sling/Baby Carriers
Darius and I hanging out outside at his first NDK in 2011.

I used one when D went to his first con and he was just over 3 months.  It was so nice.  He could nap that way and I could still check out panels, artist alley and the dealers room.  It was awesome and we didn't have to deal with the stroller since most people don't look down and trip over it, but more on that in a tic.  He really enjoyed it because he was up high enough he could see all the fun art, plushes, and activities as I could.  Also I think some carriers work for kids all the way up to 35 lbs.  I wish I'd had one for DCC!  Would have made things much, MUCH nicer.

Chilling in the stroller after getting his first con badge at DCC '13.
 It totally has a dalek on it. Win.

Strollers have pros and cons. (hahaha cons at a Con)  Really it's depends on your kiddo.  D was never really a fan of the stroller and once he was out (like if we got him out while waiting in a line or something so he could play) he didn't want to get back into it, plus you better keep moving or he gets mad.  Also people don't look down so if you're baby loves the stroller you might consider adding some flags to the front or something.  They can be good and horrible in busy areas.  You can force a path, or just end up accidentally running over toes.  I have mixed feelings about them.

Baby/Toddler Leash*
Okay I used to be one of those people that thought these were horrible... until I had a kid that could walk.  Then I secretly wanted one and when I saw a friend and her daughter with one (that had bat wings on the harness it was beyond adorable) I was sold.  I've been wanting to make one but need to get some material and the snaps to make the harness but by the time I get that done he'll probably be too old, lol.  But seriously my friend's daughter loved it because she got freedom but my friend still got piece of mind that her daughter wouldn't run off into a crowd and that's really one of the more stressful things for me when D is out of the stroller or wrap- plus the fact that cons are far from baby proofed!

Lastly- not really a necessity but may help them feel included or just be fun in general...

Darius as Jax Teller from Sons of Anarchy for DCC '13.

Seriously I swear kids are a hundred times more adorable once in cosplay.  Plus it might help them feel more included or in D's case, give him a chance to flirt.  LOL.

Child's Lovey/Blankie, etc.
Your child's lovey or blankie or whatnot might not be a bad idea either if you have a way to keep track of it as I can see it being easily lost in such crowds.  D has never developed an attachment to any one toy or anything so that's why it's kind of an afterthought in this list. :)

Also something Denver Comic Con has going for it is that they have a kids area where kids can make crafts (shields, buttons, posters, etc), learn to draw from artists, and even get their own autographed kid's comic books.

Do you take young kids to conventions with you?  What are your must have items?


Elizabeth Youngren said...

I'm so glad that there's another mommy who takes their baby to cons. My baby boy is 6 months old and my fiancé and I will be taking him to DCC this year with us. I think we will just take our stroller since it will be easier to carry the things we need around with us. This will be our first convention with baby in tow.

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