Planning a return visit to The Children's Museum is an exciting endeavor. There's a pretty good chance that things have changed since your last visit to the world's biggest and best children's museum. We understand that change can cause some anxiety. Director of Early Childhood Education Susan Michal shared some ideas with us.
5 tips to help your child prepare for changes at The Children's Museum
1. Make a plan. Children, now more than ever, take comfort in knowing what is planned. Making a plan ahead of time as a family will alleviate or diminish possible anxiety. Our staff has created a Family Guide and a social narrative for you and your family to use as you prepare for your visit to the museum. Review these materials yourself prior to talking to your child about the visit. If your child is familiar with the museum, talk about all the things you love about the museum, then read the social narrative together to learn all about how we're still the same museum and how it will look a little different. Use the Family Guide to help draw a map documenting your plan and the path you want to take while you are at the museum.
When you visit the museum, follow the map and write down your discoveries along the way!
2. Ask open-ended questions. Find out what your child is thinking as you get ready to visit the museum. Ask questions like these:
- What are you looking forward to seeing again at the museum?
- Is there a new exhibit you would like to explore?
- What questions do you have about the new exhibit?
- What are you curious about that may be different now?
3. Talk about masks. While masks have become commonplace in most public areas, your child might feel a little uncertain about wearing a mask. Ask these questions to get your child talking about wearing a mask:
- Do you feel different when you are wearing a mask? Grown-ups, you can share how you feel different wearing a mask, too.
- What kind of masks do you think the museum staff, Rex, and the dinosaurs will be wearing?
- Do you feel like a superhero when you wear a mask?
If your child is experiencing discomfort when wearing a mask, explore modifications that may bring more comfort. Consider these ideas:
- Attach a face shield to a favorite hat.
- Attach mask straps to a sewn button on their favorite hat.
- Purchase masks of their favorite characters or superheroes.
Looking for more resources? Riley Children's at Indiana University Health helped us provide these tips for helping your child wear a mask.
4. Visualize social distancing. Knowing how far to social distance can be a challenge for children—and adults. Just how far away is 6 feet, anyway? Here are some ideas to help your child visualize how to maintain appropriate social distancing:
- You can act like a car driving up the one way traffic lines going up the ramp.
- Put your arms out like an airplane so you can see the space your need to distance.
5. Check schedules. Be sure to check schedules when you enter to see what programs are happening around the museum. Some times might have changed since you last checked them online.
We look forward to seeing you!
We hope these tips will help you as you prepare your child for their next visit to The Children's Museum! We look forward to seeing you again when the time is right for you and your family!