Unless it’s some place where children can bounce off the walls “safely” and for hours on end, there is really no place in the world, that is not intimidating to take children.
I have always loved museums, and naturally, I wanted to share that love with my children. I’ve been very hesitant about taking my children to the local art museum because I wasn’t sure how they would react. Of course, I knew my 8 and 12-year-olds could handle it, however, at 2 and 4 years of age,t hat question was still up in the air for the younger ones.
I’m just going to give it to you straight; taking children to an art museum is quite possibly the most nerve wrecking thing on the face of the planet. Having a rambunctious two-year-old and a know it all four-year-old in a room with things older than our entire family combined is enough to break me out into a cold sweat on a hot southern August evening.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s just say, I took one for the team, and here are a few lessons that I learned, that I want to share with you, so you can have an easier time.
8 Tips To Prepare Your Kids For A Visit To An Art Museum
This is important before taking young children anywhere. Some museums have a reputation for being not very child-friendly. If it yours kids first time visiting, be sure they understand what the rules are ahead of time. Things like no running, no shouting, and especially no touching are standard in museums. It’s good practice to make sure you review rules before going.
Do your research
Find out everything the museum has to offer before you head there. Not only will this help you plan your time more effectively, you will know ahead of time what’s appropriate for your kids and what isn’t. While some parents are totally cool with their kids seeing the “Massacre of the Innocents” because it is art, others (such as myself), aren’t quite ready for our kids to be exposed to that just yet.
Don’t try and see everything
Unless its a special exhibit, more than likely it’s not going anywhere. By breaking your visits up, you are able to provide your kids with greater exposure. Since this goes hand in hand with planning out your visit, this will also give you and your family more of an opportunity to talk about they saw and what they liked, without struggling to remember it all.
Ask for a tour guide
This may not be something all museums offer, but I would ask just in case. A guide will be able to engage the kids and adults, allowing the visit to be less stressful for the entire family.
Make a game out of it
With very young children you can talk about shapes and colors; with older children, you can play a game of “I Spy”. These are just some examples of various ways to keep children engaged while touring the museum.
The earlier you go there may be a chance of smaller crowds. This will allow your family to navigate the museum easier and without a major worry of disturbing others.
Go on a free day (or at least discount).
Many museums offer a free or discount day (ours is on Sunday); this is the perfect time to test the waters with young children. This way if it turns out your children aren’t fans of the museum, you won’t be out a lot of money.
Know when to call it quits
If your child is showing signs of irritability or exhaustion, it’s time to go home. Likewise, if you are running short on patience or feel as if things are just going wrong-leave. While it’s important as parents to recognize when our kids have had enough, it’s also equally important to acknowledge when we have as well.
Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be an art museum either. There are science, history, sports and children’s museums as well. If your child has a particular interest, try and hone in on that first. There is no rule for what type of museum you need to expose your family to first.
Have you ever taken your children to a museum? What strategies did you use to prepare them for your visit? Let me know in the comment section below!