Taking Your Kids to ComicCon, Part Two: Older KidsYesterday, I wrote about the general and younger kid aspects of taking kids to ComicCon. Today I'll look at some of the considerations with older kids.
While it may seem like things should be easier once you no longer have to deal with diapers, afternoon naps, or finding a quiet place to nurse, the truth is that things get more complicated when you can no longer pick up your child and plop her in a stroller. And it gets trickier yet when the pre-teen years approach, with all the attendant desire for independence. While there's no one right way to navigate that as a parent, it IS important to know how you will and to clearly communicate that to your child.
Costume propriety: Decide what your guidelines are and make them very clear. Put them in writing if needed so that your child can't claim to be unsure. If you take a more hands off approach to your child's clothing decisions, look up the con's costume guidelines and make sure she knows what they are and will adhere to them.
Free Range Geek Is your child ready to spend all or part of the time at the con out from under your careful eye? As usual, there is no one right answer or magic age; HOWEVER; your con may have its own opinion. Check the conventions policy before letting your child roam free, and don't be afraid to email them to ask. Personally, I find it best to ease into this freedom a year at a time; a panel or two, half a day, and then a whole day.
Cell Phones: I highly recommend them if you're going to let you child be a free range geek. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive: we use cheap TracPhones and our kids are expected to make their hours last for as long as the service days. It's valuable to be able to ask your child where he is, or for her to be able to tell you how AWESOME it was to meet Misha Collins.
Going it Alone: That's kind of the final frontier. You know, before college and moving out and all that. This year, my 16 year old wanted to go to PAX Prime, and I happened to log onto facebook just in time to see that my friends were in the ticket queue. I got him a ticket, and sent him on his way...although he'd never been to a con before (I don't always follow my own rules!) .While he rode up and down with others, he was on his own. Before you decide to let your kid do this, you should first, find out what the con's rules are; and second, know what your child will do if offered meth at a transit center after midnight.