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Parents: how did you get your kids into roller coasters?


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Hello fellow parents out there.

 

My wife is NOT a roller coaster enthusiast. She will go on some family coasters and some tame roller coasters, but most of the coasters I get excited about, she could care less.

 

So, I have a 7 month old son, whom I am HOPING to groom into a young roller coaster officianado by the time he's 54" lol.

 

We took him to calfornia's great america for opening day for the first half of the day, and he was pretty happy for the most part, but he did get just a little scared when a big coaster roared past.

 

I plan on taking him a few more times this season to get him used to the theme park environment.

 

I am looking for tips and do's and don'ts from other parents as far as how to coax him into enjoying thrill rides without scaring him into hating them.

 

THANKS!

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^We took our son on a TPR trip and he was able to ride his first roller coaster at 11 months. So tip 1 would be to go on a TPR trip...

 

 

The other tips would be to just try your best to make it a positive experience for them when you go to a theme park.. Make the day about them and not about you... Do all of the cheesy parent stuff you've skipped over in the past and take lots of breaks...Watch parades, meet characters and in general just make sure the day is all about their experience

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^I have to say that after working in a park, I have much more respect for parents who understand their child is scared and doesn't "force" them to ride. I've seen kids crying from how terrified they were and we would talk to them to calm them down, but we would never dispatch a train unless the child physically said to us they were okay and ready to ride. There were times when the child would say no and the parents would be right beside them and tell us they were fine and to just ignore them. We'd keep trying, but if the child was certain they didn't want to ride, we wouldn't permit them. One time, this woman yelled at her son when that happened. We looked over and saw her making him do push ups on the midway in front of everyone. So you can try and "force" your kid to ride, but the ride operators might not allow it.

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^

 

This exactly. I worked at a local theme park for over a year and the amount of times that I would see parents forcing kids onto rides was insane. And what was even worse is when the parents would start abusing them and yelling at them when they decided they didn't want to ride. There was no set procedure in place on how to deal with this but my own personal (and many others) procedure was if the child was just crying a little bit we would 9 out of 10 times dispatch. However as soon as they start struggling in the seat it becomes a different story. We'd chat to the kids, try and calm them down before dispatching. If the parent said to just send it i'd go along and say "Sorry, it's not actually safe for us to dispatch the ride while your child is struggling like this"

 

If they calmed down, before sending the ride i'd often give the kid a nice big "Hi 5" for being "so brave" which would often see them smiling before dispatching. They don't calm down, they are asked to jump off and if they want they can wait to the side for a little bit and if they change their mind we will put them on the next avail car.

 

But as a parent, and an ex operator please never force your child on a ride they don't want to. It just makes you look like a jerk to the park staff, and guests around you. It's an experience that should be a positive one for both you and your child

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In May I plan on taking my 5 year old to Busch Gardens Tampa.. I'm pretty much just going to force him to ride anything he can get on. He's 51" right now so he can get on anything but the B&M's (I think?).. And if he tries to bug out of it, I'll just shame him into getting on.

For the love of God, please do not do that.

 

Some of the worst parents I've ever seen are the ones who try to force a screaming/crying child to ride rides.

If the kid wants to ride..perfect. Otherwise, please don't be THAT person.

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Hoping your kid turns out a certain way is always asking for trouble. I can totally see how you would love to ride roller coasters with your kid. And dont worry, most kids are pretty keen on themeparks anyway. If your kid turns out to hate roller coasters, find something else to enjoy with him. Because dragging them along with you on a coaster they are scared of will turn them into roller coaster haters. And no one likes a hater

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Take them to theme parks but discourage them from riding. They'll be pulling you along in no time. Well that's what my parents did, although mostly they didn't want to wait in the huge lines at the time, or maybe it was deal with me impatient in the line.

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Definitely can't force them because that could ruin it for them. Best way would be to talk them into it and show them how cool they are. My oldest kid is 3 right now and I've been showing him tpr videos and telling him about rollercoasters for a few months now. Hoping that when he is tall enough to go on one that I can take him to a park and he will want to ride them.

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Visiting the parks while they are not able to ride nothing more than the kiddie rides is a great start! They get to see everything in action for a very long time, seeing smaller kids getting off the roller coasters smiling and laughing. Show them POV videos on YouTube.

 

When they are big enough, if they are hesitant with going on a roller coaster, use a little "reward" for riding, like playing some midway games or going to the arcade after the coaster. Anything to keep the tears from flowing. If they agree to it, get in line, point out other little kids waiting to ride as well. When you get to the station and getting ready to get on, if they have a meltdown try and calm them down and remind them of the "reward" for riding. If that doesn't work, exit the station, don't force them on, but don't do the "reward" because they will think they will always get it regardless if they ride or not. Offer it again a little later in the day!

 

My 5yr old son did great with that last year! He was hesitant with some, but ended up riding his biggest coaster with my wife, Magnum XL-200! Bought the priceless picture! By the end of our trip, HE pulled me onto Blue Streak for our last ride of the season! That was awesome! I don't think we will have this issue with our daughter, who is the same age as our son, but about 2 inches shorter. She is a RIDER!

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I think worrying about how to get your kid to ride roller coasters when he's 7 months might be getting a little ahead of yourself. My two boys turn 1 on Monday, and this really isn't something that's even crossed my mind. We're taking the mto Disney World in August, and quite frankly, I'm just going to let them dictate what they're interested in seeing. Which may not be much of anything at all.

 

One of my boys is fearless, the other is a bit trepedatious about things. So each of them we have to approach completely differently.

 

I didn't ride my first roller coaster until I was about eight. My parent's didn't push me. They just waited until I asked if I could go on it (The Whizzer at SFGAm). After that, I wanted to ride them all!

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Well I was a late bloomer when it came to coasters. My dad convinced me to go on them for a few reasons. My sister loved them and he showed me that, he pointed out kids younger than me going on coasters and he used the "trust" card. Basically that means he promised me he wouldn't take me on anything that wasn't safe or anything he didn't think I'd like. I think the trust card is very effective if you have a good relationship with your kids especially if they have an older sibling who loves coasters.

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Perhaps take the action of riding roller coasters and apply it to a bigger life lesson.

 

For example, try to instill in your child that sometimes they need to conquer their fear. This is not just riding roller coasters, this is sleeping without the nightlight, going to Kindergarten the first day, trying new vegetables.

 

If you teach your child to overcome their fears from an early age, I imagine riding roller coasters shouldn't be a problem.

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Wow, I feel like banning the idiot who said they will force the kid on everything. Hopefully it's just some dumbass troll.

 

If kids grow up around coasters, they'll want to ride coasters. Don't force them or you'll ruin it. Kids also change their minds all the time. One day KT will ride a looping coaster and the next day she won't want to ride Big Thunder Mountain!

 

Explain what the ride will be like, what they're going to feel, and talk them through it.

 

Also, don't just go by height restrictions. Someone mentioned a 51" five year old, that's a tall five year old...that means they may not be ready for something just because they're tall enough. Use good judgment and decide what's best for the child.

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I was scared of roller coasters when I was a kid. When my family ran off to DL's Matterhorn, I'd always head for Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and meet them afterward. Took me a few years to come around, but no one pushed me into riding coasters.

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Also, don't just go by height restrictions. Someone mentioned a 51" five year old, that's a tall five year old...that means they may not be ready for something just because they're tall enough. Use good judgment and decide what's best for the child.

 

And don't put lifts in their shoes to make them "meet" the requirements. Seriously. It's been done.

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Im going thru this right now with my 2-1/2 year old. I started getting her and our 1-1/2 year old excited by showing them videos of coasters on Youtube to familiarize them with them. We've also taken them to all the Central FL parks and got them excited anytime we walked past a coaster since they were to small to ride. Finally the day came early Feb that my oldest was just tall enough to ride Goofini, cleared it y 1/2" We got in line and she was super excited and happy up until the gates opened and there in front of us was the coaster. She did put up a little struggle but didnt go into full tantrum or anything so I knew she would be ok once inside the car with me. I think maybe she thought she would be by herself in the car and that freaked her out. Once we sat down she calmed down and then cheered up once we climbed the lift hill. The whole ride she was excited and yelling weeeeeeee. Got off the ride and said "again". Proud father moment right there.

 

Fast forward a month and we took her to Legoland and she was tall enough to ride Coastersaurus and surprisingly was excited to ride it. I was very nervous that it being a rather loud coaster would scare her off but she hopped right in and had a blast riding and wanted to ride again.

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I don't remember exactly what age I started riding roller coasters, but it was pretty young. From the time I was 18 mos. old, my parents would take me to SFFT and SFOT on a pretty regular basis. My parents were both super into roller coasters at the time, and I hated having to wait in lines for things and not being able to ride them. I started riding roller coasters as soon as I could because my parents made it seem like a very fun experience. They never really talked about how "scary" certain coasters were and they always looked happy and excited to ride, not nervous or scared. In 3rd grade I went through a weird period. I rode Joker's Revenge at SFFT and it terrified me, so for the next year or two, I wouldn't ride coasters. During this time, my parents never forced me to ride anything I didn't want to. At most, they would say things like "Come on, you know it'll be fun, don't chicken out!"

 

If you want your kid to legitimately enjoy roller coasters, then don't force them. It's only going to make them more hesitant to ride because you're almost making it into a punishment. I also think that introducing a kid to coasters when they're still young kind of desensitizes them when it comes to viewing the rides as scary. Sorry for rambling...I had way too much coffee this morning.

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- Don't force kids to ride stuff. I got mad at my son once because he didn't want to ride something and I felt terrible about it. Of course now he's mad he didn't ride it and will never get the chance to ride it (Viper at Astroworld)

- Do take them to parks and let them enjoy what they can actually ride. They will in-turn become more comfortable at parks, around people and know the rides are safe.

- Don't try and break rules to get your kids on rides. Don't spike their hair, tell them to stand on their tippy toes (two things I saw happen on Gold Rusher last week). This just encourages them to break rules.

- Be prepared that your kids may go through phases. My daughter would ride ANYTHING at the age of 7, wasn't afraid to ride anything. Now, at the age of 16 she's kind of "over" coasters. She's not afraid to ride anything, it's just not her thing. On the flip side, our son was about 10 before he'd want to ride anything major. Even last year at the age of 14 on our coaster trip there were a few things he didn't want to ride and got nervous before riding. KK being one.

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For us we have been taking our 2 boys to parks since they were babies in a stroller. I think that helped them to get used to the noise and atmosphere. They would watch us do parent swap and hate that they couldn't ride. By the time each got a little bigger all our trips revolved around what parks they can ride the most coasters at. For example last year we went to Lagoon because my then 6 year old was 47". He could ride every coaster there except Jet Star. When both first hit 42" we went to a lot of smaller and less busy parks like Knoebels, Silverwood, Wonderland, Frontier City, Enchanted Forest, etc. and some bigger parks like of course Disney and Silver Dollar City (Powder Keg 42") that had some great coasters for smaller ones.

 

This year my youngest is 50" and we are going to do Dixie Landin, both Galveston parks, SDC , Dollywood, Indiana Beach, Coney Island along with our home park of KD. He doesn't have to sit out too much at these parks. We won't visit any Six Flags, IOA, BGT, Seaworld or the bigger Cedar Fair parks until he hits 54". He would be miserable not only waiting that long for us but also missing out.

 

Another tip is my boys watch Robb's videos a lot more than I do and have been since they were around 2 years old. On our long trips they will bring videos of places we are headed to and get very excited even if it is one they can't ride just because they can't wait to see it in person. FYI my 7 year old has ridden 115 coasters and my 10 year old 226. Kids won't slow you down if you pick the right parks and they have also helped my wife and I get a lot of cheap credits to pad our counts of 484 for me and 426 for her.

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I was the one with the kid that's 51" and was going to 'force' him on stuff. I was just kidding.. I thought the way I worded the whole post(who would openly admit that?)that it was quite obvious that I was being sarcastic, but I guess not.

 

It is funny that someone mentioned putting shoes on to make them taller. He actually recommended that idea when I told him he wasn't going to be tall enough to ride Montu. Then I explained the whole reason why restrictions are in place, and he understood.

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Explain what the ride will be like, what they're going to feel, and talk them through it.

 

Also, don't just go by height restrictions. Someone mentioned a 51" five year old, that's a tall five year old...that means they may not be ready for something just because they're tall enough. Use good judgment and decide what's best for the child.

 

I think the video of KidTum's first SkyCoaster really showed off your technique well- I was amazed how calm she was throughout!

 

I think it's also best to start with something more "fun" than "intense." I talked to a father who took a very tall 5 year old on El Toro- big mistake.

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I was the one with the kid that's 51" and was going to 'force' him on stuff. I was just kidding.. I thought the way I worded the whole post(who would openly admit that?)that it was quite obvious that I was being sarcastic, but I guess not.

 

It is funny that someone mentioned putting shoes on to make them taller. He actually recommended that idea when I told him he wasn't going to be tall enough to ride Montu. Then I explained the whole reason why restrictions are in place, and he understood.

But still, that's really not something to be sarcastic about as it is a serious matter. If a child does not want to ride a certain ride, but the parent forces them to, the child could do something that would be un-safe to themselves.

 

As for myself, it took me 14 years, but I eventually grew into liking coasters. Let your child choose when he/she wants to ride and be patient.

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