It’s that amazing time of the year when we take time off to go sight-seeing with our families. We get to explore places we’ve never been to, try out new cuisines and experience new cultures. With children on the trip, there’s usually a ton of excitement as the little ones would gesture and want to touch everything they see. And we as parents would try to hold them while telling them about what they see. It’s a whole experience altogether, but it makes for a memorable one.
If you are taking your kids to the zoo, you must have heard of how interesting, and potentially dangerous it can be. Often curiosity gets the best of our precious ones and they tend to run ahead, point at and stick their fingers in places where they shouldn’t. Sometimes they get away with such, as the animals are in no mood to be provoked. But sometimes, even the slightest wrong gesture can cause serious injuries, and lead to possibly fatal animal attacks.
We must understand that we are entering the homestead of smart animals, who over the years have learned to distinguish the difference between teasing and kindness. The best we must do is respectfully admire them while following rules set down by the zoo officials. And we should teach our kids to do likewise. This is far from a ‘who can do my assignments’ scenario; you hold the reins to your children’s discipline. This is something you do by yourself or alongside with your partner.
Here are ten simple rules we think would come in handy when exploring the zoo with your family:
1. Teasing wild folk is a no-no
As we mentioned earlier in this write-up, animals are quite smart. We have cause believed that some of them are smarter than we think. When approaching the cage of any animal, keep an eye on your little guys and discourage any form of face-making and hand-jesting.
2. A good time to match-dress
When leaving the house, you might want to wear something matching with your little ones, especially something that they can take off at any moment. Little kids below 7 years are quite fast. One moment, they are here, the next moment, you are searching for them through the thickness of the crowd. This can be scary, but matching outfits can help make the search easier, and positive.
3. Holding kids over the barriers
We understand that they really want to get super close to these animals, but they are dangerous. I mean, that’s why the barriers are there, right?
4. Emergency contact tags
Be it in the shoe, trouser pocket or around the neck of your little tot, info tags can go a long way. Just get your name with your contact information on a piece of paper. Fold this paper and keep it on your child, to maximize their chances of being found.
5. Let him play the guide
That’s right! Children often have less time to engage in mischief when saddled with tasks and assignments. Give your little one the map with all the sight-seeing stops marked with a marker or colored pencils. It’s a good way to keep them from attempting unpleasant stuff.
6. Be friendly
You don’t know where you will meet someone that could be of immense help to you. Stopping by the post of the zoo officials and saying hello is quite the gesture. Introduce your family to them as well. Above all, be friendly with those around you in the zoo.
7. Don’t attempt feeding the animals
Following the rules and regulations of the zoo is paramount for any successful outing. That being said, do not attempt feeding the animals. For one, some of them have been trained with specific food types. And again, they might see it as teasing. Provoking wild animals is never a good idea.
8. A tiny pep talk
Before leaving home, you can sit your ‘marchers’ down and explain to them in simple terms what to do and what not to while touring the zoo. Even if the younger ones forget, the older ones can help keep a hold on them.
9. Safety harness for kids
For kids that refuse to hold their mommy’s or daddy’s hand, this is a perfect solution. It reduces tantrum breakouts as the child is free to run certain distances, with you on the leash of course.
10. Quick snap before heading out
A most recent picture of you with your family can also serve the same helpfulness as matching outfits. We never expect to lose our kids in the zoo crowd, but we can as well take precautions.
Lori Meyer works with EduBirdie as a social media manager and a part-time children instructor.