We take the girls to the library every three weeks. They pick out about five books and we read them ad nauseum until its time to return them and the cycle repeats itself. I don't generally read the books first. The girls each pick a couple and I just scan them to make sure they're an age appropriate length and throw them in my bag. I usually add one or two I think look good as well. I think it's fun to come home and see what we've chosen, plus it gets us out of the library faster before the kids become unruly and disruptive.
We have found some really good books that the girls love, like The Gardener and Don't Touch My Hat. We have also come across some not so good books, like the Henny Penny book I thought would be great but was illustrated with what looked like magazine cut outs pasted in the book, ransom note style. It was a little creepy.
Sometimes, we come across a treasure in disguise, like we did last week. We got the book Time Out Buzzy. It was one I choose, thinking Ella may relate as she is frequently in time out for biting or hitting. I was, at first, disappointed. It was overly simple, even for a two year old, with no real plot, and few words. It's about a boy zebra named Buzzy who refuses to do things his mother asks and is put in time out. While in time out, he puts his toys in time out, thereby cleaning his room and comes out and does what he was asked to do before going to bed. I wasn't overly impressed, nor were the girls.
However, it did lead to the idea of putting toys in time out to put them away. We often struggle to get the girls to help put their toys away, although Samantha is way too old to not help, and Ella is old enough to do some. Generally, we beg and plead, yell and threaten to throw things out, and are met with whining, crying, and laying on the ground not helping. We wind up putting the toys away ourselves, and the girls win the battle.
Today, I decided to have them put their blocks in time out because they had been naughty and were lying all over the floor (where the girls had thrown them). It worked! They scurried about, tossing the blocks in the block bucket and scolding them for being so naughty. It worked again after dinner where every toy and scrap of paper on the floor was put in time out in the appropriate spot.
It taught me a few things: 1. A little creativity can go a long way in getting kids to do what you want. 2. My kids are more than capable of cleaning up everything they take out on their own, and they know where everything is supposed to go. and 3. Library books rock!