Parents Tips to make meets more enjoyable?

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Proud Parent
Feb 11, 2021
Hi I'm new here.

I've been to two meets for my daughter so far, and I felt pretty unprepared.
The event lasted a lot longer than expected, and the bleachers were so uncomfortable!

Do you all have any tips to make the events more enjoyable?
I'm eyeing on stadium seats, but they look kind of bulky and I wonder if they are more hassle than its worth.

Also, if you have any tip on dealing with young siblings (mine is 2.5 yo) during the meet, please share.

Thanks in advance!
We get up and move around a little in between routines. DD also has younger siblings that we have had to entertain. I try to find a sitter, but when they do travel with us to meets, I take lots of snacks to keep them occupied. I also take coloring books, activity books, and crayons. I recently broke down and bought two kids edition kindle fires for my 2 year old and 5 year old. Between the snacks and the kindles, it keeps them very entertained. The only time I allow them to have the kindles is when I know I will be in waiting rooms and doctor’s offices and for when the older siblings have games, so it’s a special treat for them that keeps the attention longer since they only get them on special occasions and not as a daily activity.
DEfinitely get a stadium seat! It helps immensely. I also take a book, or my nook with me to meets, or play games on my phone. Also, make friends with other parents. We spend a lot of time chatting (non-covid times). No younger siblings so can't help with that one.
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Our youngest has a kindle and we downloaded some apps and Netflix shows to it because WiFi isn’t always a given and you can watch the shows without WiFi. We also bring lots of snacks. She has a little backpack that she carries all of her things in- This was before covid restrictions. Now, we just find a babysitter or either my husband or I will hang back at home since most of our meets have been live streamed. I do have to say that not having to lug a kid around to a meet in the dead of winter has been so nice.
By the way, I was looking for answers too, thanks so much for your post! I've noticed that a lot of parents start communicating and becoming friends, then it's easier on the kids, too. You can do your own thing, you don't have to keep a close eye on everything.
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Stadium seat for sure. I got a folding one that was smaller than many that was worth it's weight in gold. I echo all the suggestions for the younger sibling. I did the backpack with lots of small treats and activities when my youngest was small. We also did a lot of walking behind the bleachers between events. A trip to the snack bar was also a great distraction.
We drop off the youngest at Grandma's, don't sit in the stands if we don't have to and instead wonder to each event, the biggest thing is we made an effort to get to know the other parents and chit chat about anything/everything.
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I feel like most of the meets we go to do not have bleachers so not sure if the stadium seat will work everywhere you go maybe just a seat cushion that you can travel with so if you are stuck in an uncomfortable folding chair you still have a cushy butt. For siblings, definitely activities be it coloring books, things to read or electronics. We walk around whenever we can too but thats harder now a days.
I stopped taking my younger child to meets after the first year. He generally gets to go to a grandparent or friend's house. If he does have to come it is a screen time bonanza. The first year there were also other little sibs to hang with, so that helped, but teams generally get smaller as levels go up, so less chance of sibs, and also others wised up and got babysitters too. Paying for siblings to come be bored is insult to injury!!

Bleachers are the worst! I stand and walk around to each event anyway for better pictures/video.

And I agree to make friends with other parents. Last year was hard for me because there were only 3 others in DD's level. One mom was very standoffish, one there was a language barrier, and one I couldn't find/had never seen/met. It was a lonely season! The last meet before shutdown I met the last mom and she was the NICEST and we talked all meet. I wish I'd been sitting with her all along, but I resorted to bringing friends. :D
Alcohol :p. Not really, well maybe.

I can’t say I enjoy meets. They are more bearable these days now that I’m more comfortable with the parents on my girls team, time does that, we have a rhythm. I bring my tablet, crochet/knitting.

No help with youngers, as I don’t have one. From what I see of our teams youngers, tablets, books, toys, snacks.... And find a team mate with sibs the same age. Some of the sibs are in charge of video..
that definitely helps! :) Enjoying watching the streams. Wine in hand...folding laundry, etc. Nice distractions during a meet!! (Oh, and a good show on the tv ;) )
One of the very few upside to a pandemic. Im traveling for work next week and I’ll get to see her compete (hopefully if we don’t get shutdow) from my hotel. And I don’t even have to deal with mom guilt for not being there because no spectator. No wine though, Lent will have started.
From my experience it’s better to leave siblings at home or at somebody’s house. Not all the time but sometimes, so they don’t feel like it’s a job to attend every single time their sister is competing. That frees up your energy and attention to watch the meet and talk with other parents. If you must bring younger siblings then hopefully you can find parents with other youngsters and they can play together.
Due to covid, sessions are smaller at meets, which is a good thing because they should be shorter. In a typical year if you have a about 40-50 girls you probably can hope to get out in 3-4 hours (ish). If you have a session of 70 girls, forget it. You are in for a long session. Bring some snacks because most meets will span over a meal. Don't bring siblings, if possible. I enjoy getting to know the other parents. After traveling for 4-6 meets a season, you usually can get to know them pretty well. This year is different, of course. Not being allowed to watch practices and then limited spectators gives you less opportunity to meet other parents.
Be careful when you are descending from the bleachers after a long one. My husband actually managed to fracture his sternum jumping out from near the top. That takes the cake for the weirdest injury we've experienced in this sport.

I take a lot of photos and post FB albums. I try to get a good number of candids of the team interactions. They're fun to look back on later. Also, if you can take some action shots of your child's teammates, it can be really nice, since people who are videoing often don't wind up with any good pictures of their kids doing all the awesomes.
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I am completely useless on this one. I still haven’t figured out how not to be a basket case the entire meet. However, as Covid has shown my new gym mom’s - I am totally organized and have everything ready and put together. We had a meet last weekend, and we watched it at a local hotel, had food, knew the cameras, etc. However, I didn’t sit down or stop moving my feet for 5 hours - so yeah wine might have helped!
Definitely get the stadium seat. After you get to know the venues, you'll learn which ones you'll need it for. If possible, get a babysitter for younger siblings. My youngest was brought along many times and he had his iPad and lots of snacks (and still hated every second).
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