Mom-Approved Tailgating Tips


family tailgating. Des Moines MomFall is for football and football means tailgating. Is it daunting to navigate a pop-up city of RVs, tents, and crazy fans with kids in tow? Maybe a little. But, it can be done and it can be fun!

Experienced mom tailgaters weighed in with their best tailgating advice. With an anything-can-happen mindset and some prep, your family can have a blast reconnecting with friends, making new ones, eating awesome food, and maybe catching a football game.

Emily, mom of three little tailgaters

9 Mom-Approved Tailgating Tips

  • Be Ready to Leave. I only take our son to games when I don’t care if we actually go to the game. If he’s in a great mood, we stay the whole time and have a blast. If he’s grumpy, I am ready when he is – no regrets. – Sarah, mom of a preschooler
  • Wear Your Kid – A Boba Air carrier is a lifesaver. Lightweight, breathable, fits in your purse, and it can be worn front or back. I used this until our daughter was two. She’d fall asleep at games in it. Lindsie – Solo tailgater, due to her husband’s job, with two daughters under five in tow
  • Lost Kids – As a person who fields the lost kid calls on game day, I recommend every kid has their name and parents’ names/phone numbers on their body. We have this for our kids. Other options? Buy a cheap plastic bracelet and write on it or sharpie the info on their arm. If you don’t want to do that, make sure your kids know parents’ names (numbers if they’re old enough). It’s a simple thing that helps tremendously when trying to reunite lost kids and their families. – Megan, Iowa State Athletics staff member and mom of two little Cyclones
  • The Potty – Have a kid who is potty training or just isn’t ready to deal with the porta potty? Bring your own! – Emily, tailgating with kids since the oldest was three weeks old
  • No Expectations – Have no expectations for how the day will go, and be flexible to deal with slow kids, tantrums, bathroom breaks, or general unhappiness. – Kyley, mom of two boys with another on the way
  • The Snacks – Let the kids help plan the food and make it. Bring bowls so they don’t keep digging in chip bags. – Amy, also a solo tailgating mom of two
  • Multi-Use Items – Your milk cooler bag probably has room for tallboys in it! Less to carry and everyone has what they need to survive. – Tiffany, mom of three little Hawkeyes
  • Pre-Game Activities – Maybe you’ve seen 100 pep rallies and team arrivals. But, to those little eyes, the pre-game activities are a blast and keep them entertained. Most schools also have things like kid zones for family fun. – Brandy, mom of three
  • That There’s an RV! – Buy a 1977 RV, throw in a bunch of toys and games, and let them have fun without worrying about the destruction. Bonus? Private bathroom! On a serious note, games are public places with a lot of people. My mom-brain produces horrible scenarios. I talked to my daughter about awareness before every game and what to do if she were ever taken (kick, scream, and bite!). – Erin, owner of a 1977 RV and mom of a now high-schooler
family tailgating tips
Our youngest in the bounce house before a Cyclone football game.

What are your tailgating tips?


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