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Monday, November 23, 2009

Making the Most of a Library Visit with a Toddler

I try to make weekly library trips a routine/tradition with my son. I've been doing a poor job of maintaing that routine lately though. Life gets busy, and honestly, library trips with my toddler have been pretty frustrating recently. He's all over the place! He wants to get into everything that he shouldn't be.

I just want to read with him! Or I would at least like to see him somewhat interested in picking out some books. I can barely corral him though. He just wants to run around. And I don't want to have to contain him to his stroller (which doesn't work anyway).

So I got online and starting digging around for some tips that might help make our library trips more enjoyable for... well, ME, honestly!

- One ideas I found was to read a book or watch a video about going to the library before you make the trip. This way your child will know how to behave and what to expect. I'm skeptical about how helpful this will be, but I'm willing to try anything. Wasn't there an Arthur episode about visiting the library? I'll have to look into that. He loves Arthur books.

- Visits to story hours are suggested. It's so tough for us to make it to those on time though! :( I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for some special Christmas story time activities at the libraries.

- Letting them play with the toys and equipment and you choose the books for them for reading at home was another idea. I think this is where a big part of my problem comes in. Our local libraries are lacking in children's area toys and equipment. Puzzles are pretty much all they have beyond the books. (This is probably why my toddler resorts to playing the trash cans.) Plus, I would like my toddler to be somewhat involved in choosing their books. Perhaps that's simply too high of an expectation at this point. I've been considering talking with my toddler, and making a list of the books (or kinds of books) we're going to look for at the library before we leave. So even if he doesn't want to help while at the library, he is still playing a role, and this gives us another chance to discuss the library and the kinds of books we can find there.

Some ideas I've been considering myself:

- Let my toddler watch me checking out my books. Let him hand the librarian our library card and talk about how he will have his own library card someday.

- Take my toddler to the section of books I check books out from for myself, and let him see me choosing my books and enjoying them at home.

- When you read a library book at home that you really like, talk about how it came from the library! Get them excited about finding MORE great books at the library.

- Have a list going somewhere in the house, their bedroom, the fridge, and add titles or subjects to it that you want to search for at the library. Let them see you add to the list. Add their suggestions, or things they like. (You'll likely have to assume some suggestions based on interests and other books they've enjoyed)

What tips and ideas can you share for making the most of a library visit with a toddler?

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