It’s National Library Week (the first week in April) and while we love many things about our local libraries, storytimes will always be our favorite activity. If you have never done a library storytime, what are you waiting for! Honestly, though, library storytimes are a great way to engage your child, work on early literacy skills, socialize, and not have to fight about what you’re not buying on the way in or out. While some storytimes are a series that requires you to pre-register (no cost just a library card) many libraries also offer drop-in options. Drop-in Storytimes are great for first-time experiences if you don’t know how your children will react. They are also great for those of us with inconsistent schedules!
How to have a GREAT Storytime Experience
With the help of a flyer, we saw at the Grayslake Area Library and the experience of years of storytimes among our writers we put together this list of tips to have the best possible storytime experience.
- Check and double-check the registration and procedure.
Some libraries require a member library card to enter drop-in storytimes. Non-residents will only be allowed in if there is room. My personal experience is that this is a guideline that I have never actually seen enforced but I imagine a very popular storytime may require it for space. If you are traveling to a library outside your district and it’s not clear on their website I would just call ahead so you’re not disappointed.
- Arrive on time
Nothing ruins a story like an interruption. Try to arrive 5 minutes or so before the scheduled start. This allows your child to acclimate to the library surroundings. If you are late (trust me I am unfortunately frequently late) stay at the door until the story is over and only enter during songs or crafts.
- Model good storytime manners
Encourage your child to participate with the group at appropriate times. Join children on the rug listen, sing, and dance! Participate! Set aside the phones, books, and chats with other moms (do that after the stories). Don’t worry about looking silly or not doing it right, just have fun!
- Help your child follow instructions
We know that toddlers are not always the best listeners, however, redirected them back to the group is important for everyone’s experience. Keep your child from wandering all over the room and try to keep them focused on the task. For children that need to stand and move set up at the back of the rug area so they don’t block the story or distract other children.
- Be considerate
If you are bringing siblings make sure it’s allowed. Many storytimes are focused on a very specific age and skill range. While babies in arms are usually okay a toddler at preschool storytime can be a distraction. Check with the library about siblings and if there Is a big age gap consider a family storytime instead. In the same vain leave snacks and toys tucked away until storytime is over. If one child has goldfish or a cup everyone will want one!
- Know when it’s time
On days when your child is just not happy to be there or a younger sibling has had enough, it is OK to leave. Storytime should be fun for everyone.
Most importantly have fun! Every experience may not be ideal but try, and try again until you find a time and style that works for you!
Do you have any tips to add? Leave them in the comments or give a shoutout to your favorite Library and Library storytime!