The question on my mind lately is how can I teach my kids to care for books?
I love books, I love to read, collect and reference them. Before I had kids I got very upset with friends who left “dog ears” on the books I lent them. When I had my first baby I was very excited about introducing him to these lovely board books, we paged the books often and enjoyed them.
Then my 2nd arrived. Once old enough he too loved books, a little “too much”, he treats them rough and many books are now in a bad state or torn beyond repair.
I really don’t want to pack the books on a high shelf and leave them there until I can supervise each of the 3 kids when they look at books. I want them to take their own initiative and spend time looking at what interests them when it interests them.
This week I have spent some time in Google search looking around for ways to help the kids understand that books are things to be treasured and once the books are treasured they will be able to read and look at them longer.
General Ideas to Teach Kids to Care for Books
Keep a nook for just books with a “special” area where the little ones can read / look at their books. This keeps the books from traveling and with a nice nook, can instill a sense of calm, which with my kids I find equals less tearing and destructiveness of said books.
Wash hands before heading into the “calming zone” that is your book area, this removes dirt and oils that will damage the books and leave marks. No food, snacks or drinks in the area.
Teach children how to carefully lift the corner of the page to turn it. Preferably have books on a flat surface for reading, especially if they are large.
Keep markers and crayons stored away so that they can not be used for drawing in books. I like to tell my 4 year old that the book already has words in it and has already been colored in so he doesn’t need to do it too. That this book is for reading and looking at only vs the pages that I print for him to color in with his crayons.
When a book is damaged I show my preschooler that I am saddened by what has just happened and that’s how I truly feel! I also have a few items that I use to fix broken books ranging from duct tape, contact paper and even my glue gun! Kind of doing a book hospital!
Genius Ideas and Concepts to Teach Kids to Care for Books
Kindergarten Kindergarten made a printable book (free) that can be downloaded to teach the little ones in the form of a story how sad the forest animals are that they are being drawn, stuck, messed and generally mistreated by the readers of the book. Happily the free printable has a well, happy ending.
Teach Preschool has a secret recipe for inviting children to take care of books in the preschool classroom by using some key ingredients. I also really enjoyed reading Deborah’s new book called Ready for Kindergarten where she shares almost 3 pages full of really useful tips for teaching your little one to take care of books.
The one tip in particular that has made an impact on me is to treat the book like a treasure and with little ones this means hugs! Yes! Hug the book! It’s a casual sign that you treasure the book and the time you just spent.
We have to teach and show our children by example how to care for books and how to use them properly.
(Be sure to scroll down and check the comments from readers for even more awesome tips!)