Saturday, April 30, 2011

Z is for . . .


This post is about what to do if your storytime is a ZOO!

Sometimes there are days when the kids attending storytime are wild. There are days when the kids are screaming and running around and it always seems that once one kid acts up, they all follow. Sometimes there are things that we can do to help, but other times it seems like it just be the weather!

Fellow So-Cal Library Connection blogger, Kirby recently asked Facebook friends what to do after a particularly wild storytime at a Homeless Shelter where several fights broke out between the kids. These were some of the responses:

Read "Hands are Not For Hitting".
Lots of movement activities
Carpet Spaces to define each child's space

Other things to consider are:

Set rules before the storytime.

This is what I say to remind my attendees of behavioral expectations before every storytime. "If you want to make noise or walk around, have your mom or dad or grandma or grandpa take you for a walk and when you are ready to listen come back. But if mom or dad or grandma or grandpa are being really noisy you can ask them to go for a walk." This of course gets a laugh from the parents, but it also gives the parents permission to leave the storytime if they need to.

My one big rule during storytime is not touching my flannel board. I also remind parents of this.

I ask parents during toddler storytime for kids who want to stand or wiggle during the stories to stand in the back. This allows the kids that are developmentally ready to sit still to do so in the front without the distraction of the wigglers, but allows the wiggly toddlers to participate in the storytime. Also, the wiggly kids will see the sitting behavior modeled by the other kids and will one day be able to sit themselves.

Reading shorter stories, especially with younger crowds. If the story is longer, ask questions about the pictures or story to draw the kids into the book.

Reading fewer stories. I read 3 books at preschool storytime and 2 books at toddler storytime. For my storytime these have been the perfect number. Find your perfect number!

More action activities between stories. Using songs, rhymes, and other activities engages the kids. Even if you are not reading stories, the kids are getting the literacy benefits of the rhymes, songs, and activities.

Stop reading the story. There have been times when the story I picked out just was not engaging the kids, even though I thought it would. Cut your losses and put the story down. I know it is hard, but sometimes that is the best thing to do.

Talk to the parents of the kids who are disrupting the storytime. Often they know that their child is being disruptive and are open to suggestions. Work with these parents so that everyone can have a good storytime experience.

Learn the names of the kids. It is much easier to get a child to sit down or listen if you call them by name. Of course you will not know the names of all the kids, but learn as many as you can.

I learned at a presentation that if you give kids who have attention problem or wiggly a squishy ball to squeeze, their are able to focus better on the storytime. I have tried this with some of my kids, whose parents I trust not to let the squishy ball be used as a toy with success.

If nothing works, finish storytime. Sing your closing song and call it a day. Know that next week's storytime will be better and have a cup of hot chocolate!

Hopefully these tips will help. Maybe some of our readers have other suggestions that they would like to share.

Posted by Anna

1 Comment:

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Anna, we did it! Congratulations! I have an award for you!!