Parenting and Kids Blog
News, events and resources.
It's so interesting to watch reading skills start to click for children. While the process of learning to read is different for everyone, you can often recognize those kids who have been read to a lot. It must be so much easier for them when they know that those little black blocks of sticks and squiggles correspond to the words they hear and say. And when they know about turning pages and going from left to right (for most of the books in this culture) and which way is up. All of these concepts about print are more easily learned when kids are read to early and often. Then, when the decoding part "starts to click" early readers have a more enjoyable time on top of that solid foundation. Building this foundation of concepts about print most often requires only a consistent and caring pleasurable effort- sharing books with your children every day. Singing easy songs - whatever you like. Saying those rhymes you remember or find some new ones. Your kids will love them. Choose books that you'll both enjoy. Visit your branch library for lots of great read aloud choices and you can watch it start to click from the very beginning.
Starting to Click
Robert Munsch’s Love You Forever may be the weirdest yet most beloved picture book about unconditional love ever. It’s the illustrations. What’s not so weird is when the mother says, “This kid is driving me cra-zy!” after the baby flushes her watch down the toilet. Because it’s true, parenting is often frustrating work. Add to that the other stresses of life and, well, if you’re a parent, you know what it’s like. Take a look at the Parenting Topic Guide for great resources on all things parenting. When your little one is driving you crazy or when you’re looking for great parenting books, websites, magazines, KPL databases, and community resources – you'll find them on KPL's Parenting Topic Guide.
Parenting Topic Guide
Two very hungry Monarch caterpillars visited the Children’s Room at Family Storytime on Monday morning. We also got to see this Monarch chrysalis bivouacked out beneath an aloe plant, of all things. Soon a butterfly will emerge from the chrysalis. Can you spy the chrysalis hanging with its golden dots?
If you stop by the Children’s Room soon, you might be able to see a very hungry caterpillar eating milkweed leaves on its way to becoming a chrysalis and, eventually, a Monarch butterfly. And if you see my butterfly gardener mother, tell her thanks for supplying us with these amazing creatures! Family Storytime continues Monday mornings at the Children’s Room.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The countdown has begun! Summer Reading Games are right around the corner. Beginning on June 15th, you can sign up to win prizes, read lots, and enjoy fabulous programs at the library with a water theme. There's a game for all ages: Read to Me for preschoolers, Make a Splash for children entering 1st to 4th grade in the fall, plus Tween, Teen and Adult Summer Reading Games. Save the date for the end of summer party, a celebration on Sunday, August 29th with games, snacks and fun!
Make a Splash
"Dad's Golden Hour", an article by Clint Kelly in a recent enough issue of Motheringmagazine, is all about dads reading to their kids - how much fun it is and how it creates time away from the stresses of everyday life while creating a lasting connection. The article offers tips to dads and moms for making reading aloud to your kids even more fun. One of my favorite suggestions from the article is to try reading with your kids in a different, special space - underneath the kitchen table or even up a tree. The author also suggests reading stories at dinnertime, a nice way to combine two family strengthening routines in one busy day. I also like Kelly's suggestion to give kids parts in the story, a great way to read with, not just read to your children. Finally, a suggestion to make up your own stories to tell your kids is a good one. Kids are fascinated by their parents' real life stories from when they were children.
Read to Me!
Inky sent us a postcard all the way from Sydney, Australia. I'm not surprised it's Inky who does all the writing. Inky wrote: "Octy and I are having a wonderful time traveling all around and getting to know each other. Octy is a cheerful traveling companion. We'll see you back at the library soon! Your friend, Inky. PS Octy says beep boop!"
Maybe Octy and Inky will join us at our next evening Sing Along Storytime in May. I hope to see you there because we'll have songs, stories, fingerplays, rhymes, and a craft.
Octy Phone Home
Have you seen the trees decorated with 5,281 ribbons on the Kalamazoo Mall north of Michigan Avenue? Each ribbon represents a reported case of child abuse or neglect in Kalamazoo County. While there’s never any excuse for child abuse or neglect, there’s no doubt that the experience of parenting is often very frustrating in the moment.
Unrealistic expectations of children’s abilities can lead to frustration for parents. Parenting Infants and Toddlers Today is a recent study for Zero to Three conducted by Hart Research Associates and funded by the MetLife Foundation. Researchers interviewed 1,615 parents of infants and toddlers to explore the experience of parents, to identify what information and support services parents of young children turn to, and to better understand how parents interpret and respond to their children’s behavior.
According to the study “many parents lack a clear understanding of when young children are capable of reaching certain developmental milestones”. Parents of infants and toddlers most commonly mentioned tantrums, crying, and their children’s inability to control emotions as challenges. Children only begin to be capable of such emotional regulation from 3 to 5 years of age.
Also fascinating is that “a significant majority of parents do not realize that by six months most babies can experience feelings such as sadness and fear and can be affected by their parents’ moods” or that “many parents are also not aware that most children are capable of feeling good about themselves between ages one to two.” The majority of parents believe this happens later in a child’s development.
The good news is that “virtually all parents (93%) understand the value of reading to young children” though a smaller majority say they recognize the importance of talking (75%) and singing (70%) to very young babies and newborns to facilitate cognitive development. Kalamazoo Public Library has great materials for reading aloud to your little one. Come to Baby Storytime on Tuesday evenings in April to share some songs and rhymes for babies and young children.
Parenting Infants and Toddlers
At Sing Along Storytime, we sang call-and-response songs, shared some great read aloud stories, and made crafts about the cow that jumped over the moon. We also met Octy the Musical Octopus (who speaks with musical notes) and Octy’s new friend Inky. Now Octy and Inky are off travelling to who-knows-where in their yellow suitcase. Inky promised to send a postcard, so check back here at the Kids’ Stuff blog for updates about their trip! Bon voyage, Octy and Inky!
Maybe Octy and Inky will be back from their big trip by the time we have our next evening Sing Along Storytime in May. Let us know your favorite sing along songs by replying to this blog post. Then, we can sing them together.
Sing Along Storytime
Because of my move into a new job at the library, last night was the final Storytime with Mr. Steve & Friends.
We had a great time reading books, singing songs about a man made out of food, and playing with the parachute.
The adrenaline of the evening helped me hold up well last night, but now I am feeling the effects of closing a very happy chapter in my life.
I would like to thank all the families in the community for your wonderful support during my years as a children’s librarian and for allowing me to be a part of your children’s lives.
Storytime with Mr. Steve and Friends
Many of Kalamazoo Public Library’s children’s programs, like Family Storytimeand Baby Storytime, are drop in no-registration-required programs. Others, like Baby Lapsit, Baby Steps, Toddler Storytime, or Preschool Storytimerequire registration in advance. In the print andonline Kids Calendar, these storytimes are the events with a little ® next to them. It’s easier than ever to register for these storytimes because now you can register online, day or night. Of course, you can always call the branch of your choice to register or come to your neighborhood branch to register in person. We’d love to see you here! However you register, or if you choose one of KPL’s drop-in programs, you’ll find programs that are fun for your child and work with your schedule. Registration begins 30 days before the program begins. As always, if you have any questions, talk to your children’s librarian.
New! Register for Storytimes Online