Most people leave their kids home when they go to Comic Con.
But then there’s the crazy people like my husband Sean and I who make it a point to bring our daughter.
In fact, I don’t think we’ve ever thought about leaving her home with a sitter, even when she’s acting up. We know she enjoys it and we enjoy having her with us.
So if you’re one of those crazy people like us, or you just wonder “How in the heck does someone even survive bringing a younger kid to comic con?” then you’re in luck! Because I’m about to tell you how we do it with my top tips for taking a younger kid to comic con!
1. Use A Stroller?
My first tip is to bring and use a stroller. They can be kind of controversial because a lot of people think they are a nuisance in the crowds, but in all honesty, I get more annoyed with people standing around in the middle of the aisle ways than a family navigating their stroller around.
Of course you do want to be mindful of your surroundings when you use a stroller to avoid hitting into others or booths. If you do accidentally hit into someone, make sure to sincerely apologize. I am great at not hitting anyone, but I’ve done it before and people are never upset with me when I am genuinely sorry.
Now the reason why I think a stroller is handy is because it prevents your toddler from running around and getting lost in the crowd. It’s also great for naps mid day. I like our Graco stroller because we can lay the back down so our daughter can sleep more comfortably.
Another great reason for a stroller is it can hold your purchases and bags while you’re walking around!
A downside though is that you probably won’t be able to bring the stroller into the panel rooms. I know at our local convention, Salt Lake Comic Con, we can’t bring the stroller in to any of the panel rooms because of fire and safety hazards. They’ll usually have a place for stroller parking but leave it at your own risk since no one is watching over them and you especially don’t want to leave any valuables in it. Typically when we have the stroller with us, we forgo any panels.
2. Baby Carrier
If you really don’t want to bring a stroller, or if you want to have another option for your younger kid, a baby carrier is a great way to go!
The first convention we ever attended with our daughter, we didn’t bring a stroller and it worked out great for us! She was able to easily take naps and we could move around hands free.
Carriers can also be used for Toddlers and even Preschool aged kids too! It’s especially helpful if you have them walking around and they’re getting tired. You would want a carrier that you can easily wear them on your backs.
A lot of the times we do a combination of both carrier and stroller for our daughter and it keeps it a bit more interesting for her too.
3. Take breaks often
Taking breaks during a convention is essential to having a great experience with younger kids. Sometimes it might just mean finding a small, quiet area for them to run around or just a place where you can sit for a moment.
If you’re a breastfeeding mom, ask a volunteer if they have a mother’s room available. I know that our comic con designates a room just for those moms who need a quiet and private place to breastfeed or pump so they don’t have to do it in the bathroom or on the convention floor. It can also be a good place to take your younger kids to relax for a bit, but if you have noisy toddlers that can disturb to the babies, it would be best to find somewhere else to go.
4. Bring snacks
You’ll need to check the convention center rules, but some convention centers will allow you to bring small snacks or food for your younger kids, since they know there aren’t places to buy those types of foods inside. We like to bring finger foods that won’t be too messy like Goldfish Crackers or applesauce pouches.
5. Change of clothes
We have our daughter join us in our Cosplay game but since there’s always a chance she will get it dirty, we make sure to bring a change of clothes. It isn’t always a costume, but it’s definitely something nerdy!
The worst thing is to have an accident happen and you have nothing to change them into and so you have to leave the convention early!
6. Park as close to convention center as possible
Cheap parking is always great but a lot of time that means parking farther away from the convention center.
We try to park at the convention center parking when available so we can make quick trips to the car to drop things off and have a shorter walk to the car at the end of the night when our feet are tired. To us, the extra cost is worth it, but you do have to get there earlier too before it gets too full.
7. Empty water bottle or kid’s sippy cup
You’d think this goes without saying, but I have to be honest and say we have forgotten to do this and it was a nightmare! We had to then pay a premium price for some bottled water or sugary drink for our daughter and it didn’t work so well for us.
Thankfully the next day we remembered the sippy cup and the day went a whole lot more smoothly.
I highly recommend bringing small toys or something to keep your kid occupied, especially if you do end up going to the panels (which are typically quite boring for littles).
Our favorite types of toys to bring are ones that aren’t noisy and are light enough to pack in the diaper bag. We like the Boogie Board which lets our kid draw over and over again. And we also like our Kindle too but make sure to bring headphones for that one during panels so as to not disturb others.
Our local convention, Salt Lake Comic Con, always has a space dedicated for kids called “Kidcon”. They have activities such as crafts, obstacle courses, and games that help the kids get some energy out that they aren’t able to do out on the convention floor.
Not only is this great for kids, it’s also great for the parents to get a little bit of a break. Now of course, you don’t ever want to leave your kid unattended in this area; It’s not intended as a babysitting service. But they try to have chairs around so you as the parent can sit and observe your child and rest your legs.
The only downside for Kidcon is that it’s geared more towards older kids. We went to check it out this year but our daughter was still just a bit too young for it. It looked like a lot of fun though and we think she’ll be ready for it next year.
Now that you’ve read my top tips for taking a younger kid to comic con, I hope you feel more prepared! I know that I wish I’d had these tips when we first started taking our daughter. We had to learn by trial and error and we still learn new things with each convention that we attend.
Do you have a tip I missed that you want to share with others? Let me know in the comments!