Friday, August 12, 2011

Give your kid a library card, not a credit card

I just stumbled across this nifty little article from Real Simple magazine in which various professionals give advice to parents, like "slather 'em in sunscreen" say doctors, and, eat a low-carb breakfast says a school nurse, and so on.

"What I Wish Parents Knew": Doctors, teachers, therapists and more weigh in

The "and more" tips at the end of the article is advice from random other professions, but nary a tip from librarians. That's o.k.; librarians are asked about what children should read and when and how much and other reading-related child-development questions.And of course, librarians are hauled out for the occasional article about the alleged imminent demise of the book or libraries as we know them. But if the article writer had asked librarians for advice for parents, this is what I think we might say:
Commuter Parking for Big Wheels
  •  Bring your child to the public library to get a library card as soon as he can sign his name.
  • Teach your child to ask for help from the librarian if she needs it. Many teenagers just give up trying to find things and go home bookless. If your child says the librarian is grouchy and scary, tell your child to stop mumbling and the librarian will then become helpful and friendly. (Just kidding there, parents! We are never grouchy and scary.)
  • Which leads to tip 3: make your kids enunciate. Just kidding on that one too. As a parent of two former teens, I know that is impossible, however studies have shown that many former teens learn to speak clearly by their mid-twenties.
  • Leisure reading should be fun, not a punishment. Once your child has completed school assignments, let them read what they enjoy at whatever level they like. I can't tell you how many times parents come in and try to foist some dreadfully boring, classic tome on their poor kid for "fun" reading. That will drive them right to the arms of computer games, trust me on this.
  • And finally, turn off the television and computer games during the school week. Really, that means you parents too.

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