More Than Just Tall Enough: Is Your Kid Ready For A Roller Coaster?
There are two people in this world: those who love a good roller coaster and those who have trouble even playing Rollercoaster Tycoon.
(Even with the Windows 95 graphics).
If you’re reading this post, it’s likely you’ve found your place in the world. Either you think the best place to experience a roller coaster is seeing the highs and lows of the 2022 stock market… or you’re all in on rides.
You’re all about Fast Passes to get to the front of the line to ride the Nausea Inducer 3000. You’re all about pop-up carnivals with rickety curves. And, if you’re lucky, your child is going to take after you…
As soon as they’re tall enough for the ride.
But this is where parents have to tread carefully. Just like an ill-timed piece of broccoli could ruin your kid’s taste for produce for years, forcing the thrills on their little stomachs could turn them against theme parks.
So if you’re waiting in the back of the line for a ride, pump your brakes for just a second and read the following advice from those who’ve been there.
Must Be This Ready To Ride: 4 Signs They’re Good For The Ride
Work Your Way Up To The Drop - Even if your kid sees a big ride and seems excited about it, make sure you’re taking on the smaller rides first. Like Theme Park Insider suggests, a deliberate progression to rides that are longer, with gradually longer drops, and then inversions and loops is a reasonable way to gauge their thrill-seeking appetite.
Too Tall To Ride - On coasters for younger riders, there is often a maximum height allowed. If they’ve gotten used to rides like those and are at the point of outgrowing them, then you have a good indicator that they may be ready to move up to a slightly more adventurous roller coaster.
They’re Their Own Person - An unfortunately common mistake adults make is to compare their kids to others, saying “look, that kid isn’t scared to ride!” or “your sister just did it!” A sign that your child is ready to ride is that they are suggesting it themselves and they’re open to trying it on their own - no coercing necessary.
Is It Nerves Or Fear? - Like the Tampa Bay Times points out (perhaps unintentionally), roller coasters are a good parallel for life. Sometimes we feel nervous before we do something, but that doesn’t ultimately mean we’re too scared to do it (even if we scream and yell just a little bit). Plus, you can explain that’s part of the fun of the ride - we break through our nerves and come out the other side with a story to tell. The line here is letting this explanation be enough. If your little one agrees with you, go ahead and give the coaster a try. If not, there’s always other ways to enjoy the day at the park.
One last temptation for the early achiever in your life? If they ride a roller coaster (no matter the size!) they do get to claim one of the vaunted Early Achiever IRLA coins. Now, who could say no to that?
Of course, roller coasters aren’t for everyone. How about you? Can you stomach those six-story drops?