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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Toddler Outings: The Library

Yesterday I outlined the reasons that the library is great for adults, but I also wanted to point out that going to the library makes a great outing for children - especially toddlers. Now you might not think of the library as a place you want to take a loud, wiggly toddler, but it actually works out a lot better than you'd imagine.

The toddler age is a tricky one, mainly because they are intelligent enough to grasp the idea of making their own decisions, but can't quite see the big picture enough to comprehend cause and effect. And unfortunately for them, most of the 'by myself' stuff that they want to do are things they've seen you doing - plugging in the vacuum cleaner, pushing the toast button down, turning on the oven... And since the stuff they are doing isn't exactly safe for a toddler to be doing alone, they hear the word 'no' frequently. That's why I try to find outings that will allow my toddler to make some decisions, places that I won't have to say no to him. I want my little guy to feel like his decisions matter, and to know that he can get his way sometimes.

So when we go to the library together, it's all about him: He will 'lead' us from the parking lot, down the sidewalk and into the library. I hand him his library card after we get inside and he takes his time tucking it away in his pants pocket. Because he knows where the children's section is, he navigates us through the library (he doesn't even have to hold my hand inside!). The books for kids his age are down low on tables that are just right for him to look through. I follow him dutifully as he selects books for me to carry - I'm just his helper here! If he wants to stay and read for a while, we stay. He finds a beanbag or sits at one of the little art tables to do some coloring.

Sometimes we go exploring in the children's movie section. He picks a couple of movies before starting up a conversation about sharks with a little girl standing near us. Now it's time to leave. Before we go, he picks up a flyer and a couple of free bookmarks. I don't mind, this is his time. He heads to the check-out desk and takes his library card from his jeans pocket. He fills very important as he 'pays' for his books. When they hand him his card back, he gives it to me for safekeeping. We go back to the car hand-in-hand while he tells me about the books he got. My little guy is usually so tuckered out from this that he falls asleep on the way home, and I have myself a quiet cup of coffee in the kitchen while he naps.

I couldn't ask for a better outing.


  1. Not only are you teaching him to make choices and be responsible for his card, you are giving him the opportunity to become a lover of reading. Children exposed to books and shown that reading matters read better than those who have little access to books before school.

  2. We love the library. They have a huge activity square!

  3. It's always fun watching our children blossom as they learn and grow.