Apr 07 2009
We’ve been to a lot of children’s museums, and the kids always have fun. As a parent, however, the crowds, costs, and other parents can get under my skin. As a result of much experience and observation, I present these rules for adults, in the hopes that it will make the trip more enjoyable for everyone.
- Dress your kids in comfortable clothes. The last time I checked, the children’s museum was not a fashion contest venue. Your kids will be crawling around on the floors and getting wet in the water area, so let them wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
- Put away your cell phone, homework, and whatever else you brought along. The museum isn’t meant to be a babysitter. You brought your kid here; actually take some time to pay attention to him.
- Supervise your child’s play and make sure he plays fairly. Be sure he takes turns, especially when there’s a long line of kids behind him. The only thing that’s ever really upset my kids at a children’s museum is waiting in line behind a child who doesn’t take turns.
- If possible, leave your stroller behind. It’s much easier to navigate without waiting for elevators and having to weave your way through the crowds with it. If you do bring a stroller, opt for a smaller stroller instead of the double jogger if you have a choice.
- Let your kids do what interests them. If that means that you spend an hour in one exhibit and miss two others, don’t sweat it. If your child is having fun in that one exhibit, don’t drag him away. Save the other areas for another visit, or conveniently neglect to mention to your child that you didn’t see every inch of the museum.
- On the other hand, realize when your child has met his limits. It’s hard to pull away from a museum after a few hours when you’ve paid $50 for admission, but if your child is tired or hungry and nearing meltdown mode, neither of you is going to have fun until after lunch or a nap.
- Wash your hands frequently while at the museum. Look at how many kids are there, how many of them have colds, and how they touch everything–it’s what they’re supposed to do. Wash your hands to help prevent bringing everyone else’s illnesses home with you.
- Just go! Even if you don’t like the crowds, or the price is high, or you really don’t have time, your child will love a trip to the children’s museum, and you’ll be glad you spent this time together.