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7 tips: How to deal with your children under the age of 2 at the World Swim Championship

When children come, parents usually start neglecting themselves, their partner, friends, family, and their need for a social or sports lifestyle. Why? Because of new responsibilities, poor organisation, and lack of sleep… There is always a reason and the lack of time.

It might sound “selfish”, but don’t children come into our life? It’s not only us who need to adjust to them, but they should also adjust to us. A wise old saying goes, “a happy mother means a happy child”. Well, this also applies to daddies, i.e. all parents. This is why I had no second thoughts when buying the tickets for the World Swim Championships (Budapest, July 2017). At that point the kids were: little shark two years old, and little fish was only 9 months old (she was still breastfed).

It was for the first time that I had observed the World Swim Championship with the eyes of a parent, and not of a coach or a secretary general, and I can tell you that I loved it! It was an unforgettable family and sport experience to watch the world swimming elite!

Small tricks... How I enjoyed the World Swim Championship with my children (under the age of 2):

Buying the ticketsI found out at the last minute (6 months before the championship) that I would be with my family in Budapest during the World Swim Championship, so I couldn’t choose where to buy the tickets. The bad luck was that at that point the system was blocked so I couldn’t buy the tickets online but had to ask my best friends in Budapest to give me a hand. It wasn’t easy, but finally we got the tickets for two days. The seats were in the back row almost near the “ceiling”, but the fact that we had actually managed to get them at all, and that I was going to watch my favourite world swimmers together with my children made me overwhelmed with joy.

Stairs, stairsWhen you indulge yourselves and your children under the age of two in a sport adventure of the local, European or world level, forget about the pram. Because once you get to the sport “battlefield” you will realise that stairs are all around you… I warmly recommend to put your “tiniest” child into a baby sling or a carrycot, while the second one goes automatically on your shoulders. Your hands are free then, and you’re relaxed without having to worry about where your child is.

Transport, crowdWhen your children are safe, with you (in a baby sling or on your shoulders), you won’t feel stressed if you are in a traffic jam, and there is always a traffic jam. If the city where the big sport event is held has an underground line going straight to your destination, take it without thinking. You’ll be more comfortable without having to worry about where to park your car, there is no traffic jam (if you take a bus, tram, trolleybus, especially when you take a taxi) and you will be there on time.

Free hands, full pocketsWhen I used to go to sport events on my own, before having children and a family, I always tried not to have my hands busy, or my back. I managed that because I would always wear either cargo shorts or jeans with many pockets. Trust me, they can hold in diapers, tissues, and a small bottle of water, cookies, dummy… tickets of course, keys to your flat and the wallet. If you find it easier to carry a backpack with your child on your shoulders, then of course it can work as well.


When we finally arrived at the swimming arena, we were welcomed by the cheering of the passionate audience, as it is usually the case. Like it or not, the noise is too much even for the ears of an adult, and not to mention the ears of a child. A perfect solution for this is a pair of earpieces. To be honest, we didn’t have one, but we did have an alternative: mum’s palms were there to protect the ears of our nine-month-old little fish. Despite the noise, my daughter slept tight on her mum’s chest in the baby sling during all the swimming finals.

Going to toilet

I believe that you’ve been in a situation to ask your child if he/she wants to go to toilet before you leave, when he/she undoubtedly says NO, and then you leave and 10 minutes after he/she suddenly has to go to toilet. This happens in all public places, so sport events are no exception. This is why you should always take a look at where the toilet is before you get into the hall.

If it happens that you can’t get to the toilet on time due to the crowd, or “in case of emergency” it is up to us to think of something. In this competition I was actually very lucky to have a diaper for the younger child, so we used it for the elder one, and in the other case a plastic juice cup was quite enough, while in the third case I ran to the toilet. I managed to watch all the finals in the meanwhile.

A good story

To make it clear to the child where we are going, what we are going to watch, and how it will be interesting to the child at least a bit, you should get well prepared. Before going to bed, I would tell my son, who was only two at that time, about swimming, about that big competition instead of fairy tales, of course from an angle he would find interesting. So, when the day of the big event came, we only reminded ourselves of the stories... but this time the heroes from the “swimming fairy tale” were in front of us.

Of course, for such a sport, swimming event, you always need the support of your partner, in every aspect. In the end, the feeling is amazing, especially when you see that you’re not the only dad and mum adventurers in the audience, the fans swim with their children (under the age of two).

What is your experience with children at sport events?

Have you decided to cheer together with you small children in the audience?

Make sure you look after your own needs when you became a parent as well, the children will feel your excitement and appreciate it.


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