Visiting the Library with your Baby/Toddler
Lincoln and I have been visiting the library on a weekly basis for some time now. Our local library has a "Toddler Story Time" once a week. During story time, a librarian reads books, sings songs, and facilitates some fun activities for parents to engage in with their toddlers. Then immediately following story time, the kids have the opportunity to do some creative play together; building with blocks and train tracks, connecting cubes, etc. I LOVE toddler story time, and actually first started attending when Lincoln was a baby. He wasn't old enough to play with the kids or fully engage, but it gave him the opportunity to listen to stories read by another adult besides a family member, and to see older kids engaging in the stories, too. Some libraries (not ours, sadly) even have "Baby Story Time" for younger kids that is more geared toward infants!
I also find the creative play time really valuable, especially for a child like Lincoln who isn't in daycare and doesn't have daily opportunities to interact with other kids. It's a perfect opportunity for them to problem solve, learn from each other, practice manners, and socialize.
Even if your library doesn't have a baby/toddler story time, I encourage you to bring your child to the library regularly! Here are just tips for visiting the library with your little one:
- Get your toddler a library card! Sit him/her up on the counter as you borrow books so he or she can witness the process. Before you know it, your little one will be handing the card over to the librarian with an understanding that it's part of the process of borrowing books. Lincoln just LOVES to give his library card to the person at the counter.
- Visit the children's section and as soon as he/she is able to grab a book off the shelf, let them pick books. Choice is so important (at every age) and allows your child to feel some ownership over his or her reading life. Find a cozy corner to sit in, and READ or look at the books he or she chooses. If your little one is too small to select books yet, pick a few yourself and talk to your child about what you see and why you are selecting that particular book.
- Quietly walk around the library and talk to your child about what you see and hear. Point out books about different topics, and all the different people reading in different places. Note how some people read books out loud so you can hear them, while others read quietly to themselves so that only they hear the words. There is so much that little ones can gain just from seeing a variety of people reading for different purposes on a regular basis.
- Bring home some books and READ them. Over and over. We are so blessed by a public library system that allows us to constantly bring fresh, new content into our homes for our children to read without having to go out and purchase books continually. Trust me, (I'm a book addict!) that can add up quickly. We really appreciate the variety that our weekly library visit brings to our reading life here at home.
Have you taken your little one to the library yet? Does your local library offer programs for children?
If you haven't tried this yet, what are your fears/concerns about this activity? What's keeping you? If there is anything I can do to help alleviate your concerns, or if you have questions about taking your kids to the library, I would love to try to help!