Written By: Tony Thornley – Shared with Geekfinity
Article Originally Appeared on Observation Deck
Next week, I’ll be attending my third Salt Lake Comic Con event (and the first time attending the FanX spring show). In the couple years that I’ve attended, my son (pictured above with another parent-child pair) has attended with me. Thanks to that, I’ve picked up some tricks that other parents could use for attending similar shows.
1. Come prepared.
This one might seem like a no-brainer. And it is, but not enough people think of it.
Bring hearty snacks. Bring water/juice. Bring plenty of personal hygiene items (especially wipes). BRING HAND SANITIZER. There are a ton of people present, and you will not want to be missing them when you’re in the middle of the floor, and the kiddo needs you. A personal favorite of mine is shelf stable milk. Most grocery stores carry it, and it’s a godsend. It’s enough to keep a kiddo hydrated and fill their little belly.
2. Use a stroller.
Little Brawl barely left his stroller the whole time he was at both events. Thankfully he was cool with that. These conventions are so full of people that you do not want to lose your kid. SLCC was smart enough to write your phone number on the inside of your child’s armband, however, you do not want to experience that level of pants-peeing terror.
Another plus, those little feet get tired. A stroller will keep them off their feet, which means less complaining. It also gives them a great little place to nap if they need it. A plus for a parent? Storage space under the stroller for your supplies and swag.
3. Keep your camera ready.
You definitely want your camera app or digital camera at the ready at any moment. Why?
4. Bring a blank sketchbook.
It’ll cost you only a few dollars at Michaels, but the memories will be amazing. The majority of the artists present LOVE sketching for kids. Some aren’t doing sketches, and that’s okay. However, many will do it for a minimal amount or even free.
An important disclaimer though- these artists are there to sell their wares just as much as they are to interact with their fans. It’s great if they’re willing to do it for free, but always be willing to buy something, even if you buy a print or comic from them, if they refuse payment for the sketch.
5. Attend panels.
You may think that kiddos will get bored, and you’re probably right. However, panels give you time off your feet, get your crew away from the crowded floor, and somewhere relatively quiet in comparison. Guess what else is true about panel rooms? The lights are usually dimmed. Know what that means?
Yes, if you need a rest, attending a panel is the perfect thing to do.
6. Plan time for the kids areas.
A lot of cons will feature a kids area. This is arts and crafts, physical activities, and assorted other things that children will love. Spend time there and let your kids get wiggles out and have fun. The other stuff out of the floor, that’s fun, but it’s not geared towards them. This is, and they deserve to spend that time.
7. Plan a budget for your child.
More than likely, you and your kids will run into something they want to purchase. If you plan a budget ($10-25) that means both you and them will not break the bank. They will see toys, art, apparel, movies, etc. and by setting that budget before hand, they know that they need to be selective and only purchase the things they really want.
8. Sometimes you have to go by their schedule, not yours.
I know you want to attend that panel with the Firefly alumni. I know you want to see the Lego Star Wars diorama. But unless you’ve paid money for something on your schedule, it’s expendable. I learned that the hard way the first time I attended.
9. Most importantly, have fun!
I don’t even have to expound on that. Just have fun, and they will too.
So there’s a few things I’ve learned. Do you have any of your own to add?
(All photos are the author’s and should not be used without his permission.)