Sunday, October 12, 2014

6 Tips for Touring a Historic Home with a Child

I am a total history buff through-and-through. So, I did not like the prospect of not being able to tour homes with my daughter when she was little. Before I knew it, she was old enough to consider bringing on a tour {with my husband's assistance, of course}. Bringing your kids on a historic house tour can be a little bit daunting, but there are ways that you can make it easier.
  • Age restrictions and suggested ages: Some homes actually have age restrictions for children. These homes have been painstakingly restored, so many homes have various restrictions in order to prevent mishaps that may compromise the home and artifacts. Be aware of these before going.
  • Verify length of tour: Tours vary widely. My daughter's first tour was My Old Kentucky Home which only lasted 20 minutes. A great one to cut your teeth on! She has gradually worked her way up and can make an hour and a half tour at 9-years-old. But, don't start there--just don't! With some research, you can find a shorter tour or one that is more free flowing to start on. Match the tour to your child's attention span.
  • Review the home's history before: My daughter is way more engaged when she already knows something about the home and the people that lived there. Excitement and interest beforehand makes the tour something your child WANTS to do.
  • Consider time of day and temperature: Many historic homes will not have the facilities children are used to. Some will not have air conditioning and food may not be available. Plus, bringing your child on a long tour at nap time is just a disaster waiting to happen. For a more enjoyable time, consider the comfort of your child. 
  • Encourage questions: Your child will feel more part of the tour if they are able to ask questions. Seeing things through a child's eyes has actually prompted my daughter to ask questions about artifacts many adults would just glance over therefore adding more to the tour.
  • Tit for a tat: We often couple our house tours with another attraction that is more geared towards children. My daughter knows that if she tours a house for mommy, then mommy will come with her to some place of her choosing.
By following these strategies, we have been able to successfully incorporate home tours in our adventures. My daughter has toured several plantations, gone on afternoon-long home tours and even has toured Versailles. 

Do you have any suggestions for taking a child on a historic house tour?

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