Little over a year ago I made the difficult decision to move back to my childhood home and live with my parents. Being a single mother of four special needs children fueled my need to be physically close to my support system; the fiscal results have not been bad either. Living in a multigenerational household has not come without challenges and casualties like decorative pillows (son used the tassels as mustache) and the addition of crayon to textured walls. By far the TV has been one of the biggest compromises. My father has retreated to his bedroom for his insistent need to watch news most of the day. But as we approached the football season I knew our current television viewing routine would have to change.
In an effort to prepare my little boys (four-year-old Zachary and 6-year-old Xavier) I formulated a plan that can be used to successfully tailgate in any home with little guests. Set the expectation that you will be viewing the game. If your children are stubborn like mine you might want to start talking up the football game a day in advance. Additionally, I do not allow my children to watch the living room television where the watch party will happen. This action helps me avoid a potential melt-down when changing the channel from Nick. Jr to the game. Set-up “specials” (activities and privileges) that are specific to game day. For example, I purchased some inexpensive plastic children Adirondack chairs from Wal-Mart. These chairs are special seating for game day only.
The kids are more inclined to sitdown during the game in their “special” chair. Another suggestion is to make an activity bag with non-interruptive toys, games, books or activities that can be brought out during the game only. A great bag is the official NFL Team Tote Bag that was created to take the guess work out of preparing for tailgating due to the 2013 Stadium Bag Policy. Admittedly it is not a good diaper bag but a great way to support the home team. With the bag being clear you can see what’s in it and easily cut down on clutter (my professional organizer, Practically Perfect would be so proud). As a single mother ironically there is not much I get to do singularly—definitely not grocery shopping.
To reduce the amount of shopping you have todo, order the Dallas Cowboys “Tailgate Party Pack” from Kountry Specialties. Then ask your guest to bring chips and sides. Serve mocktails. In case you have been living under a rock mocktails are non-alcoholic drinks that are often offered to designated drivers, pregnant women, and party guests who choose not to drink and now your kids. You won’t have to worry about ill-fated taste-test of alcoholic beverages by your children. For older children who aren’t huge football fans you can have a scavenger hunt of sorts. The best part about this scavenger hunt is that it doesn’t require a list or objects just them viewing the game. See how many examples of good sportsmanship you all can find.
You might point out a player helping an opponent up after he falls or coaches shaking hands after the game. This is a good way to engage your kids and a good platform for future discussion when your child has the opportunity to imitate the actions he saw. Finally, if you are expecting al arge number of children (10 or more) I would enlist the help of a professional onsite childcare service. In a separate room, they can set up a fun area with toys and games that are age appropriate.
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