Let's Take a Trip
Visits to the museum, park or zoo should be enjoyable outings filled with quality family time. But all too often they feel stressful, rushed and exhausting. Many challenges during family outings result from transitions children are coping with, including:
- Changes to their daily routine
- Not knowing what to expect or what to do
- Feeling too physically restrained or tired
Remember, it’s not so much what you do with your child, but how you do it. Help them feel secure and better able to cope with transitions using these tips.
Before you go
Talk with your child about where you’re going, who will be there and what you plan to do. Explain how you’re going to get there, how long you will be there and when you will go home. Creating a picture plan or schedule can help young children visualize and organize what the outing is going to be like. At Chicago Children’s Museum, we have personal schedules for families to plan their visits, and others do as well.
During your visit
Don’t try to do everything! The quality of the experience is more important. Children need time and space to play and learn, so follow their lead. Try to anticipate when your child is getting tired or hungry or might need a break. Finally, never stop communicating.
Back at home
Turn the outing into a story. Include details about what you and your child did, said and enjoyed. Playfully reflecting on the experience is a great way to talk about successes, challenges and things to think about next time.
Beth Wilson is the manager of early learning initiatives at Chicago Children’s Museum. She has been an NPN member since 2011.
Photos courtesy: www.chicagochildrensmuseum.orgPosted on July 09, 2012 at 7:45 AM