Moms, Don’t Forget the Library!
As a mommy of a preschooler and a toddler, I’m always on the lookout for fun, and oftentimes, free activities. Consistently attending library storytime at the local library was one of the best decisions I made for my children in the last calendar year. Even small towns usually have libraries with a weekly storytime, where children listen to stories, sing, make crafts, eat snacks, and check out books. So many parents do not take advantage of this free, educational opportunity, possibly due to lack of awareness or lack of interest in reading as a parent. Let’s face it – moms of little people are tired. So even if you are an avid reader, you may not always have the time or energy! Whatever the case, we all know that reading is a vital part of education, and the library is one of the greatest environments for early learning development. Here’s why:
1. Libraries provide a plethora of learning materials.
When I think of a library, I naturally think of books, but books are only one of the learning resources available. Most libraries also have DVD’s for lending, with selections that are family-friendly and/or educational. Libraries also offer computer usage with fun, educational content, magazines, audio books, and learning pads. Have you priced books and educational materials lately? Free resources are helpful with today’s ever-increasing expenses! Many libraries also offer summer programs, featuring storybook characters and special educational events. If you do this for no other reason, take your child to the library to benefit from the free learning tools! On the plus side, you can take the books home and snuggle up on the couch while you read a good story to that sweet baby of yours!
2. Libraries boost social interaction between children.
Each week, my children enjoy storytime with the librarian or another volunteer. The children sing together as a group, make a craft that relates to the selected stories, and enjoy a simple snack. These activities provide needed social interaction for toddlers and preschoolers in a friendly environment. The social interaction during storytime reinforces listening skills and encourages good behavior in a group setting. It’s an opportunity to learn how to act and participate in an “informal” classroom setting before going to kindergarten!
3. Libraries encourage working toward special accomplishments and goals.
One local library has a special program where my children choose a prize from the treasure chest after reading fifteen books. This is a short-term goal, so rewards are received on a regular basis. The other library we visit follows the program, “1000 Books Before Kindergarten.” This is a huge goal for young children, but they also receive small prizes after every 100 books completed. Summer reading programs are available at most libraries for both preschoolers and school-aged youngsters, so children can achieve goals year-round.
4. Library procedures help develop responsibility as a character trait.
Even little people can check out books, care for them at home, and return them on time. My children quickly learned that you don’t rip pages in library books, and to take special care not to scratch DVD’s. I have a designated place in our home for library items, so we don’t lose them, and I try to keep our borrowed items safe. Unfortunately, we had a DVD that was missing for quite some time. When I questioned my son, he explained that he threw it in the garbage because he didn’t like it! This was an opportunity to teach what we do not do with library items, and we gladly purchased a new copy for the library! Returning the books on time and learning how to care for borrowed items goes a long way in teaching responsibility, and that’s a character trait every parent wants to see developed!
I’m often pressed for time and making library day a priority is sometimes difficult, but it’s definitely worth the extra effort. We may eat breakfast on the go and occasionally arrive late, but once we’re inside the library, we have a fabulous time reading, singing, crafting, and learning. I’m so glad I have taken advantage of this free service, and my children are benefiting with every visit! Moms, don’t miss the opportunities for early learning development at your local library!
Kristin Dunn is a mommy by day and a blogger at Peppermints and Cherries [https://www.peppermintsandcherries.com/] by night. She has a B.S. and M. Ed. in Elementary Education and has teaching experience in both the traditional classroom and as a distance learning instructor. She currently teaches piano and voice lessons in her home studio. When she’s not teaching or blogging, she’s often trying a new recipe, organizing a closet, or entertaining her two little munchkins.