Well, we’ve made it through. Con season is upon us again! We are both super excited to hit the ground running at our favorite con, WonderCon! We plan on doing some cosplaying, buying things we don’t need and just general mayhem. I thought it is a good time to discuss attending a Con with a kid.
Attending a Con with a kid is a very different animal from attending by yourself or in an adults-only group. So, I put together some tips and a check-list to help you out.
- Get the guide as soon as possible and look at the panels.
- Pick one panel to attend a day. Yes, only one.
- Pick back-up panels that you would like to attend, but won’t lose your mind if you don’t get to them.
- Take a look at the time of these panels. If your kid still needs naptime, take that into consideration.
- How long before the panel do you need to be in line? How long is the wait to get in that room? Can your kid do that wait? If they can’t, they can’t. They’ll get older and better at that later. Spend your time doing something else.
- Have realistic expectations for what your kid can do and handle during the day.
- Will the panel be family-friendly? There are usually warnings about language and content in the guide. Check the panel before the one you are going to as well. Save yourself from having a very awkward conversation with your kid that neither you nor they are ready for.
- Hopefully, the panel happens during snack time. Nothing easier than snackage distractions, amirite?
- Now look at the vendors/artists on the floor.
- Pick two or three to visit in a day. Yes, only two or three a day.
- Basically, what I’m driving at is plan a very light day with lots of plan B scenarios.
- Take lots of pictures, but don’t try to post them until you get back to the hotel at the end of the day (see tip on extra cell phone battery below).
- Accept that you will not get to see as much when you attend a Con with your kiddo.
OK, so you won’t get to every single thing when you are traveling with a kid, but bear in mind that you don’t get to every single thing when the kid isn’t with you at a Con either! Cons are crazy and crowded and even the smaller shows have more fun packed into them than you can possibly see in the time given. It’s all good!
The good news is that attending a Con with your kid is one of the most fun and rewarding experiences a nerdy parent can have. I have WAY more fun with the kid at a Con than without, even more so after we started cosplaying. Cons are special experiences to share with your youngling and help cultivate their fandoms for a lifetime. They get to meet other adults that are into the same fandoms as their parents. They see that being a geek is a lifetime pursuit that is always fun and rewarding. It ignites their imaginations like nothing else.
That being said, here’s a basic checklist of items to pack for your day:
- Sturdy backpack or messenger bag. Some good ones can be found at hottopic.com and/or thinkgeek.com. Don’t rely on the bag that they give you at a con. Find something with padded straps. Trust me on this.
- Refillable water bottle. Just carry it around in your bag empty and use the water fountains to fill it when needed. You will need to hydrate!
- Non-refrigerated snacks. Granola bars, protein bars, trail mix, beef sticks, stuff like that.
- Small travel first aid kit with band-aids, pain reliever, antacids and children’s medications. Pharmacies sell travel kits that are inexpensive and super handy.
- Extra cell phone battery or two. The service in convention centers is deplorable! Also, we nerds love our gadgets, so competition for that wi-fi is tough. Your battery will take a beating.
- If you are cosplaying, an extra set of clothes for the kiddo to change into for napping in the stroller, accidents or if they just get tired of cosplaying. It happens.
- Bring a small cosplay repair kit with you. Safety pins, bobby pins, fabric tape, things like that.
- If you are still in the diaper bag realm, basically pack it like you are going to a theme park for the day. Extra diapers, wipes, binkies and formula. Load up for bear.
- Note that strollers are very much discouraged these days at Cons. If you have an itty bitty kiddo, bring the least bulky stroller you can get away with and be ready to have to park it outside. Don’t bring the expensive fancy pants one with you this trip! Bring the baby sling just in case and check the guide online for rules before you get there.
- Different colored Sharpies for autograph opportunities.
- Cash (the ATM line at Cons is always a nightmare).
- Poster tubes (if you know you are buying art).
With all this in mind, just have a great time! A little planning and you’ll have tons of fun. This is just like everything else with parenting. The key is to plan things out, but be ready with that Plan B, C and so on. You know what I’m talking about!
Love, Kim and Scout