The Best Free Resource for Toddler Parents
The local children’s library is the best free resource for toddler parents! Especially as a stay at home mom during the week, I am always looking for ways to connect my son to nurturing people and places outside of our home. And the library has become our favorite place to find this connection.
The Benefits of Local Children’s Libraries
1. Children’s Librarians are Gems
Every children’s librarian I have ever met has been incredibly kind, helpful and welcoming! Every time we walk into our local library, the librarian greets us and says a special little hello to my toddler.
These librarians have also picked out car and truck books for my toddler after learning of his passion for vehicles. They have an amazing knowledge of the book collections and know exactly what book to hand a toddler!
Our local librarian has also connected us to some wonderful resources. For example, she gave us some kits the other day that are a part of the library’s Ready for Kindergarten program. This is a program for parents and kids aged 0-4 to help them develop the skills they need to be ready for kindergarten.
Above all, I’m so grateful that our local librarian is someone in the community my son is able to connect with on a regular basis. Because my toddler is not in any kind of daycare, I really value anyone and anyplace he builds a relationship with outside our home. Libraries are such a great introduction to showing kids what it means to be a part of a local community!
2. Weekly Story Time
I love taking my 2 year old to our library’s weekly Story Time. I think most children’s libraries offer a story time, so it’s worth checking in with your local library!
At our library, it is designed for 2-4 year olds, but I took my son starting around 18 months and sometimes there are kids older than 4 as well. I just like getting my toddler around some other kids and letting him be a part of a group. So Story Time is our jam.
We also usually try to arrive a little bit before the Story Time starts, so my toddler can do a little drawing with the crayons they have out and mingle with other kids. As a bonafide covid baby as well as a toddler who does not attend daycare, my 2 year old is still slowly warming up to social settings and the library is the perfect place to do this. You can see my post on Shy Toddlers and 5 Ways to Support Their Social Development for more ideas on this topic.
Additionally, I love Story Time because I just get to sit there and enjoy having my toddler on my lap without having to entertain him or read to him myself. Not that I don’t love reading to him, but we do it A LOT, so it’s nice to just luxuriate in having someone else read to him.
And the books the librarians choose are always really sweet. They read 3 books during the story time that all have a common theme. There is also usually an art activity afterwards that is related to the theme. And I’m always so impressed by all the prep the librarians do for these activities. Did I say I love children’s librarians already?
3. Borrowing and Returning Books
Borrowing and returning books is a great concept to teach kids! They learn that they do not have to own something to enjoy it, as well as how a communal resource system works.
Additionally, you don’t have to go out and buy a bunch of books. And then have those books sit in your house forever and eventually collect a lot of dust. It’s just a relief to be able to purge a whole shelf of books and return them to the library when we’re done with them, since our house is already exploding with toddler clothes and toys.
So we love checking out a handful of books, spending a couple of weeks with them, and then taking them back and picking out new ones. While yes, sometimes there is a little bit of food stuck to board book pages from the previous reader, it’s never enough to dissuade us from using the library!
We like to store and display our library loot on our homemade Montessori style bookshelf, so that my toddler can fully appreciate and access the books until it’s time to return them. For more ideas on toddler home design you can check out my post on How to Create a Toddler Friendly Home.
Browsing for books at the library also gives toddlers an opportunity to identify their interests. Since there are so many different books about various things, you really start to see what your particular child is drawn to. In my child’s case, I think we have checked out nearly every book about cars and trucks the library has!
What Does Your Local Library Have to Offer?
In a world that often feels unwelcoming and cold, I find children’s libraries to be wonderful little sanctuaries of joy and delight! The wonderful librarians, the fun Story Times and the endless supply of books make it well worth a parent’s while to see stop in and visit the local children’s library.
Do you utilize any of your local library’s resources? What is your favorite thing about the library? Say hi and share any thoughts in the comments below!
Check out this article with images 6 Best Children’s Libraries in the United States or 13 Awesome Children’s Libraries to get excited about children’s libraries! While our local library certainly isn’t as extravagant as those shown in these articles, we still love it!