Two Weeks With the Kids at Home? You Need a Bag of Books!

I know what you’re thinking.

Everyone in your family needs a B R E A K. Some time to rest and relax. Some time to sleep in, play outside, be a family. Some time to enjoy the festive season – watch a holiday movie, sip hot cocoa, ice skate, visit with friends and relatives.

So much fun is to be had.

And then.

I know.

A piece of you is wondering how this will all go down.

While the holidays bring with them a flurry of activity and plenty of to-do’ing, inevitably, you hit a day when you’re starting to, well, get on each other’s nerves. Maybe the kiddos will bicker, maybe the weather will turn nasty, maybe you’ll engage in an epic battle of it is time to get away from a screen.

Of course I’m going to recommend a pile of books to you – certainly you can already see where this is going!

But, more than just any old pile of books, here’s my thought: quick, quick, before school is out, head on over to the school library.

(I’ve always tried to advertise, encourage, practically beg parents to come check out books. Even after flyers, posters, announcements, and emails, I’m stunned when parents ask, “can parents check out, too?” Yes. I’ve never known a school library to only check out to students. Most librarians see their purpose as supporting the entire school community, parents most definitely included.)

So, get yourself on over there. Bring a big bag or two and load up! I’m being perfectly serious. Most librarians I know are thrilled to have their books circulate over the holidays! They’re not being read sitting on the shelf for two weeks while school is out, after all!bag-draw

And while you’re there, see about scooping up some To-Do books. Well, that’s what I call them, anyway. Cookbooks, craft books, how-to-draw. So, in addition to plenty of good titles to bag-origamiread, you can also come home with plenty of good titles to do! Most school libraries have books on all kinds of crafts and activities! From knitting to folding paper airplanes; from crafting with recycled materials to calligraphy; from learning various forms of solitaire to games to play in the car!

See? Looking ahead at your winter break doesn’t seem so dismal now, does it?!bag-alm

And, of course, also check out plenty for your kiddos to read (or for you to read to them). Grab a few graphic novels, a non-fiction title, a seasonal story. Joke books, poetry, some world record books. You never know what this nearly two-week-long break will hold, so a big, fat smattering of interesting titles will do. No, the idea is not for your child to read them all! Instead, find a spot at home, show off all these great books, and let it be. See what happens.

A tale for you. I visited our local public library the other day to do just this: grab some books for my kids (and for myself) for the holidays. <Oh, did I forget to mention? This is something you can do with little bitty tots as well as for teens. Sure, my son can drive. Sure, he and my daughter can use their able bodies to get themselves to the library before school lets out. Will they? I think “maybe” is being generous.>

Well, so… I went to our public library, and it was closed! For renovations! Not opening up again until late January! Somehow I missed that memo.

So, I did it. I waltzed on over to their school library and checked out a big ol’ passel of books for them. And I admit it, it felt kind of weird. Not many moms are checking out books for their high schoolers. And really, I am totally that mom who thinks it better for the parent to let the lunch kit or English homework sit at home, rather than bring it to school to “rescue” the child.

But, I’d argue, having something To Do over the holidays is always wise. And, in our case, reading constitutes as something To Do.bag-trashed

I showed my kids what I checked out for them. My son has his first exam tomorrow, but he has already started one of the books. “This looks good,” he said, “you got this from my library?!” Amazing, I wanted to say, that you’re in your fourth year of high school and just now are figuring out that there is some good stuff there. But I just smiled. I’ll pick my battles.bag-relish

My daughter is heavy into memoirs as well as non-fiction right now, so I picked up a few treasures for her, as well. She, too, has already nosed through the bag. I feel confident that the contents will be examined as soon as her Biology exam is a thing of the past.

I know you’re busy right now. It’s the holidays, I totally get it. But, think of it as a worthy investment of your time. Gather together just a whole mess of books (and by the way? I really mean it! I’ve told parents before to come check out a whole bunch of books, and they’ll leave with 3 or 4, apologizing for taking so many. I mean get yourself a big grocery sack or two and load up. Why not?!) and check ‘em out for the holidays! It’s FREE, a beautiful word this time of year!bag-blets

When the days get long, when the video games have been playing non-stop, when you need a break from the houseguests, when the kids start to push each other’s buttons, see what this big bag of library books can offer. Maybe a sweet story, perfect for reading in bed and maybe 101 games to play with marbles.

One thing is for sure: your upcoming holiday break will be muuuuuuch smoother if you . . .

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Contact me at fplweb (at) frontporchlibrarian dot com

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