What with it being Bank Holiday yesterday, we decided to go to one of Vienna’s many museums. We chose the Technisches Museum (in other words, the Technical Museum). When you are travelling with a small child, you may not get to see all the cultural delights a city has to offer. Here are my top 10 tips to consider if you are thinking about taking a young child to a museum:
- Choose the museum carefully. There has to be some sort of bait. When we went to the Natural History Museum, it was the dinosaurs. At the Technical Museum, it was the “big, big, slide and a children’s play area”.
- Avoid distractions en route. Under no circumstances should you allow your child to spot an extensive playground with a range of intricate climbing frames. If you do, your trip to the museum will be finished before it has even started. If you can think up a fun game that involves blindfolds or closing your eyes for long periods of time, now is the time to go for it. If you succeed in actually getting your child to the museum after spotting such a distraction, rest assured, his heart will remain at that playground and he will be sure to let you know it.
- Don’t go to museums that are expensive. You will not be staying there very long. An hour is realistic and that’s taking into account stopping for a drink. An hour and a half is ambitious.
- If there is anything you particularly want to see, forget it. The agenda will not be in your control. If you have a particular interest in the museum you are planning on going to, get a babysitter.
- Take a large bag full of snacks. In the hour we were at the Technical Museum, Noah consumed a Goodies oat bar, two Humzingers, cheese dippers, a Babybell, a quarter of a ham sandwich, some carrot sticks and a chunk of watermelon.
- You need to accept that there will be three stages that your child’s mind will pass through: enthusiasm (when you tell him you are going to a museum in an excited tone and wave the bait under his nose), reluctance (when he realises it means leaving the cars he has lined up in military fashion along his bedroom rug), rejection (pretty much the moment you step into the museum).
- Your child is unlikely to learn anything. Museums are cultural. Museums have amazing things inside them. Museums are educational. Not for 3 year olds.
- Remember, all your child really wants to be doing is either:
- Watching Youtube
- Watching television
- In a playground
Have some sympathy for him.
- You will need more bait to get him home, especially if you are travelling by public transport. You got him all the way there, you got him to be semi-engaged for an hour, he will want to leave, but he will not want to walk anywhere. Noah was promised a cake. My husband took him into the bakery to choose any one he wanted. I gave the bakery a wide berth as I am doing the 21 Day Fix and have not been fixed yet (in other words, I am on a diet). Noah chose a cake with layers of thin pastry and fresh cream between each layer. If you are letting your 3 year old choose a cake, it is advisable to supervise them yourself. Noah doesn’t eat cream. Doesn’t my husband know that? How many times has he heard me order an ice cream for Noah in a restaurant, expressly asking for no cream? How many times has he seen me spooning the cream off the top of Noah’s ice cream, muttering the whole time about how I’d asked for NO CREAM? He ended up sharing his cake with Noah…
Sorry for the outburst. My husband is a wonderful father who usually has a good understanding of Noah’s likes and dislikes. I just really wanted a cake too!
- This hour in the museum will exhaust you. By the time you get in, you will need a glass of wine. If you are on a diet, you will settle for a cup of tea. It would be nice if you could put your feet up for a while, maybe read a book or have a little snooze. But no. A small and adorable little person is asking you politely if you will play hide and seek with him.
Ok, my Noah, you hide and when I’ve counted to a hundred, I’ll come and find you.