Now that Kings Island is open daily, a lot of parents begin to allow their children explore the park on their own. There are many tips to help ease the mind of parents. This is also a useful tip for groups of friends who split up during the day.
First, make sure your phone is fully charged. The ability to text one another makes reconnecting much easier. In a lot of parks, there are charging stations with different types of cords. You can also buy or bring external batteries to rechange your phone battery on the go. You might also consider solar chargers since most of the time you’ll be in the sun. They are even more useful, if you play on your phone while waiting in lines and taking lots of pictures.
You should still make a clear plan when and where to meet. Some landmarks come to mind instantly as you walk in where to meet. The front entrance of the park, a certain gift shop, or a favorite open area, can all work. Make sure all the other group members know as well. If for some reason, a member of your group can’t meet by a certain time, try to be flexible. I personally like meeting in a gift shop, especially when it is raining. It keeps everyone dry and is a chance to slow down a little and maybe pick out a t-shirt or key chain.
If you are letting your children run free for the first time, it will help if they have a phone. Set regular times for them to text or call with an update. A useful park hack would be have them set alarms on their phones as a reminder to check-in. Now parents, be a little flexible. They could have just gotten on a ride or are sitting in a show, leaving them unable to respond. I would suggest that they inform you before going to see a show. An alarm or a ringtone is rude during a performance.
The age you allow your children this privilege, is up to you. You know your children best, and can judge their maturity. Personally, I was 12-13 when I was first able to go on my own. Still, I had my cousins or friends with me.
Children are going to want to explore themselves. Allow them to have that freedom. It is a great way to show them you trust them, not to mention, allows them to make decisions on their own that can help them become strong leaders for groups.
I thought Krystal’s post was wonderful. This is a fun and exciting time for families, letting their kids fly solo for the first time. Remember, it doesn’t have to happen all at once. First, these older kids can head off to do one ride and then rejoin the rest of the family after it is done. Then, as you get more practiced at the process of checking in and finding one another, you can see how they do getting a meal for themselves.
If they’re not ready, you can gently keep it at that trial level for as long as necessary. But the park is a safe and controlled environment. Kids adapt and grow up fast when they feel that independence. For some, it may be only a taste that they need. Then others may soon be waving good-bye from the parking dro-off area and then calling you after the fireworks. Every kid is different. Enjoy the ride, parents! -Mike
»If you have thoughts on letting out the leash of control, please share from your experience in the comments below!
Photo credit: Baby Geese by PeterKraayvanger Public Domain