Guest Post Series: Guerrilla Moms

As a new mom, I was thinking about how youth services librarians, early childhood development professionals, and storytime providers go about incorporating their knowledge into parenting. Sometimes, parents at storytime may feel overwhelmed by trying to utilize all these skills at home, especially when it comes to minimizing screen time and maximizing real world interaction. There are so many messages about screen time and kids, and so few real world strategies for what to actually DO that works as well for quieting a 2 year old having a meltdown in Target as well as giving her an iPad. So, I thought I’d ask some experts who I know are working hard at parenting with early childhood best practices in mind to share the nitty gritty of how they do it.

 

ninja moms

 

Our second post of the series is by Gwen Vanderhage. Gwen is a kids & teens collection development librarian for Brodart. She sadly hasn’t done storytime in public in a couple of years but is still on message for Early Literacy at every opportunity. She has a toddler son at home, where they read books, play with egg shakers, and have silly dance contests. Here are her words:

 

I won’t lie, the thing that makes me a super stealthy Storytime Ninja is that I use this stuff at home. I am a full-time toddler mom and part-time librarian. The Joint Chiefs were all, “Who might have pro-tips we can share with our storytime parents? Ninja moms!”  It’s amazing how practicing what you preach makes your preaching feel so much more meaningful and compelling.

 

It’s particularly timely that we talk about this right now, just after the Babies Need Words Everyday roll-out, because the easiest thing I share with parents is TALKING to your baby. All of the things we’ve practiced saying in our parent speeches are true:

 

  • It feels funny to narrate your day to an infant, but it gets easier
  • Talk about your errands and point out interesting things
  • Name everything, all the time
  • Singing is kinda the same as talking, so if you’re more comfortable, start with that
  • Talk WITH your kids, not just at them (make eye contact with your baby, let her coo back)

 

Real life example 1: One of the easiest ways to start talking about the world with your baby, is to begin in the produce section of your grocery store. No one will frown at you – they will smile. Let your baby feel the broccoli, rub a peach on his cheek, sniff the cilantro. Shoppers are supposed to wash this stuff at home, so don’t hesitate! You can talk about the produce long before your baby is big enough to eat it and also talk about it when you prepare it. Talk about it when your baby starts squelching and eating solids. Talk about it when he’s big enough to stand next to you on a stool and let him stir, or (gasp) use a child-friendly knife to “dice” a banana. You can talk about the 5 senses. You can use big vocabulary like “tangerine.” You can introduce colors. You can count apples. You can start talking about how plants grow… there’s a natural progression and you just keep talking. Hey look, PBS has parent tips for the grocery store too!

 

Real life example 2: Let’s talk about our feelings. Babies are really engaged with books that show other babies’ faces, particularly those baby faces that are expressing emotions, like Margaret Miller’s original Baby Faces book. With wordless books, it doesn’t feel natural to just hold a book up and turn the pages; of course you’re going to talk about what you see! Talk about how that baby feels. Why does she feel that way? What happened? “That baby is sad. I wonder why? Maybe she dropped her binky. What makes you sad?” “Mmm, that baby is eating. What foods do you like to eat?” Reading a book this way trains us and our children to have a conversation, as well as learning words and concepts. It also helps your baby begin to learn empathy. You want to set the stage to continue having conversations about feelings with your child for a lifetime, right?

 

I know you have other great examples you give parents for talking and how it can set the stage for literacy. Please share them!

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Guest Post Series: Guerrilla Moms

As a new mom, I was thinking about how youth services librarians, early childhood development professionals, and storytime providers go about incorporating their knowledge into parenting. Sometimes, parents at storytime may feel overwhelmed by trying to utilize all these skills at home, especially when it comes to minimizing screen time and maximizing real world interaction. There are so many messages about screen time and kids, and so few real world strategies for what to actually DO that works as well for quieting a 2 year old having a meltdown in Target as well as giving her an iPad. So, I thought I’d ask some experts who I know are working hard at parenting with early childhood best practices in mind to share the nitty gritty of how they do it.

 

I never get tired of making Gorilla/Guerrilla jokes basically.

 

Our first guest post is by my high school friend Amanda Villaveces, who has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy and was a Montessori teacher for 10 years. Here’s what she told me:

 

Ok, here are my thoughts – we as a family generally do 4 things that keep our screen time down and keep us otherwise entertained.

 

1. Have materials available (very Montessori). The boys have a play area in every room of the house with toys and books. They can reach all the materials they need (eg Max has all his art supplies in the closet where he can grab them, but Theo can’t because he’s 18mo and would paint the walls if he could).

 

2. We encourage creativity by being creative with them. I’ll paint my own picture and Max will grab materials and join me or Joe will be working on some electronics project and invite them to watch.

 

3. We take care of ourselves so we have to the energy to stay creative and  and patient and engaging. As the “primary” care giver since my husband works full time and I work part time, I have more kid duty, and cleaning and shopping duty etc. I had to learn when to tag him in so I could recharge.

 

4. We use TV wisely. We don’t own an actual TV because we bought a projector when Max was born (since we knew it would be a decade before we went to a movie theater again ) and so TV isn’t easily accessible. But we do watch it and when we do, we try to make it count. We have family movie nights or watch nature docs (sometimes Max will say “ugh can’t we just watch a fiction show today?” But he does love Attenborough). We also use TV when we need a time out but the other parent isn’t free. So if the kids are watching a show and I’m exhausted I try to make it count by reading during that time or taking a a hot shower, anything to help relax and recharge.

 

All that being said I think I should throw in- we encourage outside play, play dates, and we have a dog.

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Resource Depot: Summer Reading on Pinterest

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There’s a million things that can come between you and planning for summer reading.

 

  • You’re new to a job and just getting to know your library and community.
  • You’ve been occupied with alternating between glaring at and crying over your manual.
  • You just learned you’ll have major budget cuts and almost no funding for summer programs.
  • You’ve agreed to taking on weekly visits from a summer camp or partnering with a school.
  • You’re exhausted from cleaning the children’s room every 15 minutes.

In any case, never fear! SU is here with a list of Pinterest boards to lose yourself in for hours.

 

General Program Ideas:

 

This one from Angela Reynolds.

This one from Annette Bierley.

 

Life Size Games:

 

Bridget Wilson’s board, here.

Michelle Madsen’s board, here.

 

Olympics:

 

Check out Hodgkins Public Library’s board.

 

Re-thinking Your Approach:

 

This perfect board from Marge Loch-Wouters.

 

Happy planning, everyone!

 

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Local Chapter of the Month: Minnesota

Each month, we’ll be recognizing and featuring one local chapter. We hope this helps you discover new groups, get ideas for meet-ups and discussions for your chapter, and also reward all the networking that’s going on and the work that goes into that.

This month I’m recognizing the Minnesota SU Chapter.

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Minnesota is really crushing it. They have more than 100 members, they’re sharing the events and opportunities for networking that already exist in their state, they’re highlighting resources I didn’t know about, posting job ads, and asking really great questions.

Go, Minnesota!

Here’s what I love about their chapter:

  • They’re using other local events as a way to meet each other and connect.
  • Many members are involved in sharing and really interested in discussions on articles.
  • They’re really interested in seeing each other grow.

So go take a gander at their group and find some awesome resources!

Just joining us on local chapters? Find yours here and find some information about what it takes to be a chapter leader.

 

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Guerrilla Storytime at PLA 2016

 

Thank you to everyone who joined us for Guerrilla Storytime at PLA and thank you to CLEL for partnering! We had a great turnout and got some amazing ideas! Because the summaries are so long (and have SO MUCH GREAT STUFF), I’m attaching them here as google docs. Andrea and I did our best to capture everything; I apologize if we missed something! Please comment if you have trouble accessing.

 

Summary for Thursday, April 7

 

Summary for Friday, April 8

 

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