Our story time attendance has exploded lately - to the point that we are considering adding a third one to the schedule this fall. While that is a good thing, all the new faces means I have had to step back a bit. While, at this time of year, I could normally read longer stories and keep the kids' attention, I am switching back to the shorter, more interactive ones.
And, boy, are these kids interactive! We are struggling with learning when to listen and when to shout things out - both kids and adults. Time to give our beginning-of-the-year handout another go-round. Below is our general text: what would you add or change?
We do not expect small children to sit completely still and silent, in rapt attention, hanging on every word we say (or read). Frankly, that would be a little creepy. We do want everyone to be able to enjoy the stories, though. A few ideas to consider:
Some kids like to sit with their friends, smack dab in the front row, and some want to sit next to a parent, or on their lap. Either one is fine – unless we are too busy talking to our friends to hear the story. In that case, you might come a little early so they can spend a few minutes before story time catching up on all the exciting things that have happened since they last saw each other (yesterday!)
Sometimes a toy or book keeps our hands busy so we can listen better (adults do this, too!), and sometimes the toy can’t behave and makes too much noise. See which works best for you!
NO SNACKS in story time, please, because of all the possible allergies, but drinks with lids are okay.
Feel free to interact with your child during the story, that’s part of the experience! (“That puppy looks just like Grandma’s dog, doesn’t he?”) But, if the reader asks, for example, what kind of noise a pig makes…let’s let the kids try to answer first, okay? If nobody gets it, then go ahead and coach.
Grown-ups need to talk to each other. We totally get that, and that is part of our mission, too. Just wait until the craft time, please, so we can all hear the stories. Many play dates and friendships have come out of story times!
Finally, if nothing seems to work, and your little one is distracting everyone to the point that the reader has to yell the story, please do step out for a bit – but, don’t leave! Play in the children’s room or run around outside for a few minutes, then come back in for the craft, when noise won’t matter. Please don’t feel like you should “wait until he’s ready,” because that will only happen with practice.
We hope you enjoy your time at the library, please tell us if there is anything we can do to make it better!