Toddler behavior can arguably be compared to an imbibed adult because of their frequent mood swings, temper fits, random displays of affection, and desire to do everything and nothing all at once. Family outings and day trips have proven to be the best way to spend our weekends, so we don't find ourselves battling tantrums from too much time in the house. Recently, we packed up lunch and spent the day at The National Gallery in Washington, D.C. Here are a few tips we gathered for bringing a toddler to a museum.
EAT BEFORE YOU ENTER
The last moments before going inside the museum, we played up the idea of how exciting it would be to have a few snacks in the car. We popped our girl onto the console in the front seat and she munched on her favorite snacks before we went inside. A full belly does wonders to keep tantrums and low blood sugar levels to a minimum.
ENGAGE THEIR SENSES
Because toddlers capture their surroundings in such a tangible way, pointing out lighting, sounds, colors, shapes, and sizes engages their interest and brings the experience down to their level of understanding. Simplifying a work of art, like Orcagna and Jacopo di Cione's Madonna and Child with the Angels, is easier than you might think. Our little girl's eyes followed the lines of the paint with true awe as we discussed how Mary was nursing Baby Jesus,her beautiful dress, and how her arms kept Jesus cozy just like how we hug one another.
KNOW WHEN TO LEAVE
The hardest part about visiting a beautiful museum with a toddler is that their attention span is a fraction of ours. We kept a pretty even pace throughout the rooms we visited; actually, it was the fastest pace I had ever taken in a museum, and we only saw a quarter of what I was hoping to see. That being said, the quality time we had as a family made the seemingly shorter visit completely worth the effort to get there. Once the requests to stay seated in the stroller were being ignored, we decided it was time to head out. Overall, we had a great time as a family and can't wait to go explore more museums and see if we can build up the length of time we spend the more we go.