“If it’s not my idea, I don’t want to do it.”
This seems to be my seven-year-old son’s motto these days, which is kind of annoying because we’re spending the summer in a city with a wealth of world-class museums that I want him to experience. I know he’ll enjoy them once we’re there, but transitions have never been his strong suit.
After some trial and error (and many arguments) trying to motivate him to leave the house, I’ve found a two-part formula that seems to work. It both gets him excited about a particular museum AND allows us to continue the learning journey once our visit is over. I’m sharing it with you in case you find yourself in the same boat.
I used to try to persuade him (and get some stealth teaching in) by reading him books related to the topic of the museum we’d be visiting, but he was never interested. So then I started showing him short introductory videos from the museum websites. Voila! Immediate interest! I realized his fear lay in not knowing what to expect; once he knew where he’d be going, he was more inclined to cooperate.
Then I discovered that if I waited until right after our visit to read him a book related to the topic of the museum, he was a million times more receptive, connected, and interested. It reminded me of the Montessori/Orff concept of giving the child the sensorial experience before the symbol/language.
By following this simple two-step approach, we’ve been able to explore several wonderful museums. It took some observation and creativity, but I found an approach that minimizes my son’s insecurity and maximizes his learning potential. And isn’t that what matters in the end?