In my other life, I am a children’s librarian. I deliver storytimes to preschoolers, and parents with babies. It can be extremely fun, and extremely exhausting. I got to thinking about storytime today, because of a friend’s facebook post. Her son, apparently, was too noisy and got kicked out today. I commiserated, on both fronts.
First, as a librarian, that pesky kid that is always bouncing around and won’t sit still to listen to my melodic voice drives me crazy! You know the kid, because if you’ve ever been to storytime you’ve all seen him. What kind of parents does he have anyways?
Second, as a parent. Because, I am the parent of said child. His name is Dylan, and sitting is not his favourite game. Jumping up and helping, he likes. Talking very loud, he likes. Listening, hmm, not so much.
I really don’t think I am a bad parent. In fact, I kind of like my kid’s enthusiasm. Scratch that, I love it. Not that I encourage anarchistic behaviour. Certainly not in storytime (it is rather embarrassing when the librarian’s kid is the one causing all the trouble). But, speaking from experience here, that is just the way some kids are at this particular point in their development (or, period). Yes, you can work with them, yes, you can try to force them to listen. Yes, they can be kicked out. But, that’s not going to make them want to come back to storytime. Or the library. And it’s probably not going to make them want to read.
So, I say, hard as it is, let them stay. Unless they want to go. In which case, consider their request. Storytime should be about discovering the love of storytelling, songs and books. Negative feelings don’t have a place there. And parents who feel shamed because of their kids behaviour, probably won’t bring them back. To storytime, or the library. Which is a huge loss. So, if we could all be a bit more forgiving and a bit more accepting, I for one, would really appreciate it.
By the way, my son loves storytime and has never been kicked out (although there have been times…). But, we have received looks. You know the ones. And I would like to say, people, keep your looks to yourself! Because your son (or daughter) doesn’t hold a candle to mine!
Okay, let’s try that again. Because we’ve all been there. Or we will be, if we haven’t yet. And, even if your child is an angel, try to revel in the villain (or the Dylan) just a little bit. Because once you get him singing along, well, that’s when he truly shines!