February Half Term holiday is always a bit of a funny one. The weather’s not always great, so outdoor activities may not be top of the agenda, but strangely many indoor attractions don’t open their doors until at least March, and in many cases April.
Searching for places to visit this week I was surprised to see so many museums were closed, stately homes too, although the latter I can understand a bit more, as muddy boots and plush carpets don’t mix very well. Although I have visited venues where disposable overshoes are provided to slip over your outdoor ones – a kind of compromise. But many museums keep their doors firmly shut at this time of year – a bad move as far as I’m concerned. Once the sun is shining I want to visit outdoor attractions, not closet myself indoors!
Fortunately, a couple of our local museums were open to the public this week so I popped in for a browse with my son. At the first we had a lovely, tranquil visit, but sadly our trip to the second was chaos!
I couldn’t believe the number of parents that were just letting their children run riot! Whilst some were engaging their children with interesting chats about what they were seeing or helping them to complete the quiz sheets provided, others were just standing by while their offspring rolled around on the floor (and I’m not talking toddlers), ran headlong into other visitors and whooped at full volume.
Now I don’t believe that children should be seen and not heard, or that they should tag along meekly without a bit of self-expression, but I do think that basic manners should be observed. A troop of youngsters, old enough to understand how to treat others, should not really be barging into other visitors without a polite, “excuse me” or “sorry”.
Sadly, it became apparent how some of their behaviour had been acquired. We were walking along a narrow aisle of the museum, when we found our way blocked by a group of mothers engaging in intense conversation. My first “excuse me please” was ignored, my second request yielded a tiny step to the side by one individual, which still did not allow me to pass due to her enormous umbrella sticking out at a dangerous angle. We eventually managed to pass amidst tuts and filthy looks, as if we were in the wrong!
I think it’s great that places such as museums often provide interesting workshops and activities for kids during the school holidays, but if you take your child along to such a place, I urge you to encourage consideration for others – and lead by example!