Inside: Want to take your kids to the library but feeling overwhelmed by the idea of going alone? Here are a few of my library tips for moms with small children
As a mom of 4 (who are all stair-stepped), I understand that the thought of going it alone at the library can be daunting. I only have two hands, two eyes, and two ears. Meanwhile, I’m also being tugged in several different directions while also caring for an infant.
This whole “outing” thing is not for the faint of heart.
But it’s also not impossible and doesn’t have to be physically and emotionally draining.
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LiBrary TiPs for Moms
Here are the ways I keep our library trips from feeling more like Mission Impossible.
#1: Divide & Conquer (When You Can)
If you only have 1 or 2 kids, you may not even need this option. But with 3 or more (or even if you just want special time with each child when you have 2), this can be a great way to make library trips a little easier.
Whenever possible, I either take as few of my children as I can (splitting them 2-and-2) OR we go as a family. That way, my husband and I are each accountable for tending to the needs of 2 at a time.
Obviously, this isn’t always an option. But it’s great when possible.
#2: Avoid Tired Tantrums
This may seem obvious. But taking little ones on any outing when nap time is nearing can be problematic. Make the setting of that outing a LIBRARY where everything is fairly quiet, and it takes the stress level up another notch. Or 12.
0/10, do not recommend…
So we always either do early morning trips or post-nap afternoon trips.
#3: Wrap, Wrap, Wrap
I could probably write a love poem to my Moby wrap.
It makes life SO much easier. Especially when I’m the only adult with all the kids. I honestly don’t think it would even be possible for me to go on a library trip with all of them if I wasn’t able to wrap our youngest.
We’ve had a few different carriers, but this Moby has been my favorite by far. He’s nice and snug, and my back has the support it needs (if I wrap it right).
I’ve also heard great things about ring slings but have never tried one personally.
#4: Keep it Comfy
I mean this in every possible way: make sure that everyone is as comfortable as possible when going on a library trip.
Kids in comfy clothes ✔
Momma in comfy clothes (and breathable clothes, if you’re wrapping a little one!) ✔
Carrying as little things as possible ✔
I don’t even bring in a diaper bag. Or a wallet. I now carry my driver’s license in my back pocket, and our library cards are on my keychain.
But not bringing in a diaper bag leads me to this next tip…
#5: Plan Ahead
If you’re not going to be bringing everything but the kitchen sink from home, you have to be prepared. Diapers are changed. Baby has been fed. And all preparations have been made for this to be a smooth trip.
Taking my kids to the library does NOT have to be an all-day affair. I used to idolize this sweet little dream world in my head where we would spend hours at the library reading books and learning together.
But the reading and learning happen much more smoothly at home or outside.
Now our library trips are in and out. We pick the books, we check them out, we exit.
#6: Pack a Snack
This is a tip for pretty much anywhere we go. I always have a snack ready. Or we eat one before we leave the house.
Of course, we don’t bring food into the library. But it can be fun to have a “car picnic” before we go in to make sure that no one will be peckish. OR you can use it as part of your exit strategy (which we’ll talk more about in a minute)!
#7: Have Your Card Ready
Like I mentioned, all of our library cards are on my key ring, so all I have to do is whip my keys out of my pocket to check our books out. But if you don’t have key ring library cards, make sure to shove them into your pocket so that they’re easily accessible.
Especially if you’re leaving your wallet at home… it would be unfortunate to forget the library cards inside.
#8: Exit Strategy
EXIT. STRATEGY. This isn’t as important with my two oldest or with my youngest (considering he’s just along for the ride), but when kids are between the ages of 1 and 3, there usually needs to be some sort of plan for ending any fun activity.
As mentioned above, you can plan your “car picnic” for AFTER your library excursion, that way your little one has something fun to look forward to that you can remind them of when it’s time to leave.
Or maybe after library trips, you can go to the park to read the new books you picked out. Or have something special planned at home (like baking cookies or doing a craft) that can help ease the transition.
“Okay, if you’re all done picking books, we can go home and bake our yummy cookies now!”
#9: Relax & Have Fun
When we’re uptight, it makes the whole situation a lot less enjoyable for everyone.
Why do we take our kids to the library? For me, it’s because I want to foster their love of reading at a young age. I want them to be able to explore books and have fun doing it. But if I’m stressed every time we go to the library, it’s going to affect how they view it.
What memories do I want them to have of the library? Even though, like I said, we don’t spend copious amounts of time while we’re there, I still want the time that we do spend in the library to be enjoyable and as relaxed as possible.
So yes, have a plan, keep it structured, make the transitions smooth, and be efficient. But let’s face it, it won’t always go the way we plan. Sometimes there are off days.
Even then, let’s remember to embrace this time with our kids. because just like with everything else in parenting, this too shall pass. The day will come when there won’t be any more library trips or park visits or car picnics.
And when that day comes, I don’t want to look back with regret, wishing I had enjoyed it more or done it more often. I want to look back on this time as childhood well-spent.
What are some ways you make sure your library trips go smoothly? Leave them in the comments below!
Until next time,