Inside: 5 library visit tips for parents of toddlers and preschoolers.
In today’s busy world, parents sometimes forget the hotspot in their community. Yes, play places and museums provide great ways to spend time with your family, but you probably also have an AMAZING free option nearby: the local library. Today I”m sharing five library visit tips for parents of little kids.
How to Love Your Library
Make it fun
Visiting the library is FUN! There’s so much to explore there. These days, libraries often offer more than just books. Don’t feel like you have to stick only to the shelves.
You want your kids to think of the library as a joyful place, so that when they later grow into readers they’re still happy to visit.
I like to look at a trip to the library as a time to bond with my kids. We love to take advantage of the fun activities that our local branch offers.
Look out for activities like reading, toys, coloring, and group games with other children. Plus, be sure to find out when storytime is.
Teach Them About Books
A trip to the library gives you a chance to teach those little learners about reading and books.
Show them where the picture books are located, and how to use the reshelving cart. Model how to treat books gently.
Then, let them choose a big stack for you to look through together there in the library. From those, you can pick out the ones you want to check out and read again at home.
Be sure to also meander through the nonfiction section and help your child find topics they want to learn about. This can be anything from cooking, cars, space (my kids’ favorite), animals, or something else. The point is for them to realize that libraries are a great place to learn about new things – even better than Siri and Google!
Build Social Skills
Young children often make friends easily. Parents can use those free activities as an opportunity to have their kids get to know others their age. It’s a great place to easily set up play dates.
You can also use this opportunity to introduce your child to the librarian. That way he/she can talk to other adults as a way to build those social skills.
Get Yourself Something
While your child comes first, use your moments at the library to find a book for yourself too. This way, you’ll want to come back just as much as your kids will.
Even if you tend to be an e-book reader, consider checking out a physical book or two so that you can be a reading role model for your child.
If you have a small library, you might even be able to browse while your little one explores. Lucky you!
If you’re like me, and the grownup books are nowhere near the children’s section, you’ll have to drag your little ones with you and just choose quickly (or, even better, work off of a running list on Goodreads). It helps if you let your kids pick their own books first so that they can look at them while you book shop.
When you get home with your library haul, put all the children’s books in a special basket or bin. Teach your little ones to put away their library books there so that they don’t get mixed up with your own books.
(You can even make this a game by helping the kids set up a pretend play library)
If you have toddlers who can’t be trusted not to tear and chew pages, find a high shelf to keep your basket on.
Also, be sure to make yourself a reminder about the due date. If you’re a little scattered sometimes (guilty!) set an alarm on your phone as well as putting it on your calendar.
Even better, if you make visiting the library a weekly ritual, you’re less likely to have overdue books.
Like a trip to the candy store, they’ll want to see what else the library holds if you make sure to emphasize its importance.
There are many things to do out of the house that’ll get you and your child smiling. I hope these library visit tips help make the library one of your top choices!