Advice for baby at Olympics
01 Aug

The Olympic Sport of Baby Wrangling

When we applied for a gazillion tickets for the Olympics last year, it was almost inevitable that the only ones we’d get would be tennis. Which is fantastic, but when you already live in Wimbledon and go to the tennis every year, it kind of loses a bit of magic.


But hey, I’m not going to complain. Some people didn’t get any tickets at all, so at least we got to see something with five rings flying above the stadium.

The exciting bit for me was that we were going to bring Baby. She can look back and say that she was at the London Olympics.

advice for bringing toddlers to the Olympics 2012

I, however, approached this with a tinge of trepidation. Baby + Tennis = Lots of meaningful shut-that-baby-up looks from other spectators. On the other hand, why would they sell tickets to babies if they were going to be as strict as Wimbledon Tennis about noise? We paid £2 for her ticket, so they knew her age.

Court 1 at the London Olympics 2012

I’m happy to report that Baby sat on our laps for two hours during a Roger Federer match and behaved herself magnificently. The players didn’t seem to mind the baby babble – not that they could hear her from our seats in the gods. The people sitting in front of us may have received the occasional thump on the back of the head, but we apologised profusely and I think we got away with it.

Roger Federer at London Olympics

She then slept on Henman Hill/Murray Mound while mommy and daddy watched the big screen. I think more than two hours in our seats would have been pushing our luck.

My advice on bringing a baby/toddler would be:

1. Bring your own food for the little one. Finger sandwiches, raisins, breadsticks, apple slices. Sometimes, keeping them eating is a good way to keep them quiet.

2. Bring bottles to fill with water. There are plenty of places to fill up your water bottle on site.

3. Plan your travel route carefully. Go overground if you can. If you are going to the Olympic Park, our source tells us that it’s easier to take the overground to Hackney Wick and enter via the Victoria Gate, which is much less crowded. From Clapham Junction, Hackney Wick is one hour.

4. Accept that your little one will be noisy. We pre-emptively apologised to everyone around us when we arrived, sort of as a joke, but also sort of seriously. If your little one is especially noisy, do take pity on the poor souls around you and leave the stadium until junior is less vocal.

5. Enjoy the atmosphere. Even though Baby was very good today, I didn’t actually watch much tennis. I mostly watched Baby aim raisins at people’s heads.

After we got back from the tennis, James sent me this article from the BBC website on what it’s like to bring kids to the Olympics. I laughed when I saw the part about choosing a noisy sport. Yes, that’s great advice. Unfortunately, choice didn’t have much to do with the tickets we got. For me, it was tennis. Again. Yay!


  1. 02 Aug


    Aww but she looks like she had a great time! Cant wait to take my 18 month old, hes very boisterous so we shall see what happens there!

  2. 02 Aug


    Thanks for the tip re Hackney Wick. Going tomorrow with toddler. We’re in Tooting Broadway so going to pick up the London overground at Highbury & islington as the Victoria line is faster than going to Clapham Junction for us.

  3. 04 Aug


    Hey… All you parents out there with your precious babies mattering only to you! Stay home with them! They cry because of the obvious. Quit annoying the other spectators AND above all, the pro tennis players trying to entertain by playing their best! How inconsiderate of you selfish parents. Other people have also paid good money at these events. Let alone the Olympics. Idiots!!!

  4. 04 Aug

    Julia from ICAWatermelon

    Gee, you’re so right, Harlan! All of us parents should just stay home. That way, we wouldn’t inconvenience other people by clogging up the pavements with buggies and forcing them to hear our babies’ cries, their babbling, and their laughter. You are totally right. We are being so inconsiderate by carrying on the human race and trying to make sure our kids have great experiences. You’ve completely convinced me with your eloquent argument.

    In all seriousness, I believe you’ve missed the entire message behind the London Olympics 2012: inspiring a generation. It’s hard to do that by leaving them at home.

  5. 04 Aug


    Harlan, relax I have a solution- lets ban all children from major events, so grumpy people like yourself can have a wonderful time. My god, you should be ashamed of yourself for expressing such stupid opinions publicly.

  6. 04 Aug


    Our daughter is now 13, but as a babynanywhere we went, she went with us, and then as a toddler and a child, otherwise they never learn how to behave in public. There is nowhere that I would now worry about taking her because having mixed with adults in, restaurants, hotels, theatres and the like since she was tiny, she knows what is expected of her, and how to behave. If you only take them to a limited number of places the child police would approve of, you end up with teens and young adults who think that a burger bar is the height of sophistication and that is how you behave in all restaurants.

  7. 05 Aug


    I’m curious to know if Harlan has any children of his own? I suspect that if he does they would be starved of important, social life experiences until they are at least 18.

    I agree that there are certain events and situations that it isn’t appropriate to take babies and young children. I wouldn’t take my daughter to Wimbledon tennis fortnight for example BUT taking her to the Olympics tennis where children of any age are actively encouraged to come is perfect. Inspire a Generation does not mean inspire them in front of a TV at home.The athletes in the Olympics know that there are family tickets being sold and they are professional enough to be able to deal with it.

    I’m afraid, Harlan, that you’re going to have to accept that there are parents out there who just want their children to grow up to be well adjusted and socially smart. I’m sorry that you are selfish enough to not be able to support them.

    Try to enjoy the rest of the Olympics and I hope the sight of the young children and babies in the audiences isn’t putting you off.

  8. 07 Aug


    Thrilled to hear you and your little one had such a great time at the tennis. We’re taking our 3 girls to the Paralympics and the children are all so excited; they’ve been so inspired by the Olympics, we want to maximise that inspiration and give them a great day out!

  9. 30 Sep

    Emma Day

    I took all three of my children (including 2 small babies) to watch the Olympics and I can confirm I did not annoy any other spectators. In fact lots of people congratulated me on taking them!

    Harlan you are a d***head!

    Lovely photos Julia and well done one taking your little one to the Olympics. Ignore morons like Harlan!


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