Don’t Call It “Terrible Twos”

Toddler having tantrumHave you ever heard a parent say “I just want to skip past the “terrible twos”? While toddler-hood might be one of the most challenging ages (perhaps second only to the treacherous teen years), would anyone really want to skip a portion of their child’s life? I’d like to think not. Below are some ways to both better understand what toddlers are going through and also to help everyone in the family adapt to the changes that a toddler brings. And be sure to check out our many resources on toddler development at our library.

Routines and Repetition

While many adults crave variety, a toddler needs repeated activities both to help learn expectations and also to experiment. The repetitive pattern of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” for example, is popular because the child knows what to expect and can add different sounds/animals as the child’s knowledge develops. This is also why your child may want you to read the same story over and over again, night after night. Being able to predict what characters are going to do is a skill toddlers don’t immediately possess, so knowing what comes next is the fun part. Routines also help children learn what to expect. Toothbrushing and a story right before bedtime can teach children when bedtime is to be expected. Continue reading

Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall – So Can You!

It’s so great to show my baby fall for the first time. The weather is cooler and we’re going on long stroller walks, visiting pumpkin patches, playing with leaves (while making sure the baby doesn’t try and eat them) and many more fun fall activities. While we all have busy schedules, don’t let this colorful season pass your family by – try to do some of these fall family activities.

fun with leaves Continue reading

What Rhymes with October?

adora_6m00Happy October, everyone! I have no idea what rhymes with “October,” but rhyming is essential to early literacy skills and practices at all times of the year. So get out there and show your kids all the wonders of autumn, and then teach fun rhymes to make fall even more fun. Some of the rhymes below are action rhymes, so the corresponding actions are in parentheses.

Pumpkin, Pumpkin

Pumpkin, pumpkin sitting on a wall.
Pumpkin, pumpkin tip and fall! (Lean over.)
Pumpkin, pumpkin rolling down the street. (Roll hands.)
Pumpkin, pumpkin on your feet! (Stand up.) Continue reading

“But I’m Not Tired!”

boy asleep with bookThe bedtime story already has been deeply planted in the early literacy landscape, the collective nostalgia and routines for tricking little ones into falling asleep. We have heard the benefits of reading to your baby bumpkins and terrible twosers daily touted near and far, but does the time of day a child is read to actually make any difference?

The answer is, um…well, probably. Maybe. Depends?

While there is some research on that question, obviously everyone is different. Personally, I am a big fan of the bedtime story, so what follows will be my case for the institution.

For one thing, your children are put to bed every day, so there’s a built-in “reminder” that allows reading to easily become part of a routine that’s already necessary. Plus, “bedtime story” rolls off the tongue a lot easier than, say, “after-school snack story.” If you have a snugglebunny or two who land closer to the reluctant side of the sleeper spectrum, sometimes a calming routine can help. According to chair of the Early Childhood Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Peter Gorski, M.D., the most cognitive benefits from reading are reaped when the child’s experience with books is enjoyable and associated with love, safety and comfort. Well, what is more loving and comfy than being tucked in, surrounded by a beloved stuffed animal or two, while mom and/or dad tell you a story? Letting your nugget choose the story they want to hear can be both a bedtime selling point and encourages a positive association with being read to. Continue reading

Early Literacy the Affordable Way

We Children’s Librarians have purchased lots of cool and educational toys to help build early literacy skills at the library. You may have seen some of these at our Discovery Time, such as the cloth box with colored scarves to pull out, the fancy colored nesting blocks or the counting food cans. However, you can encourage early literacy skills for little or even no money whatsoever – just be creative with items around your house! Below are a few ideas for you and your family to enjoy.

Stacking Bowls. Don’t have the money to buy a fancy nesting toy set? Take a set of different-sized plastic or Tupperware bowls from your home and let your child play with them. These bowls can help teach concepts of size (little fits into medium fits into big). You can even stack the bowls upside down and build a snowman (insert your own “Frozen” joke).

Magnetic letters on fridgeMagnet Letters. I‘ve been seeing lots of toys with light-up letters that feature sounds and word samples. Pretty nifty. But for my money, nothing beats a good old set of magnetic alphabet letters. Spell out words and sentences right on the fridge. Put some tape up, and make your own preschool Boggle board. My mom was fond of putting a new word up every day – great for vocabulary building and letter recognition!

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