It’s been a busy summer so far around my house, with trips and camps and band practice, with crafts and forts and sprinklers, with broken appliances and make-shift laundry lines. But one thing I’ve tried to weave into our everyday lives is an increased sense of responsibility.
My kids can be pretty rotten at caring for their things. It takes a good bit of nagging to get them to put clothes in drawers neatly, toys on shelves neatly, towels on racks neatly…you get the idea. I know a big part of my job as a parent is to teach them to be more responsible for their things. We are working on it. With books.
Library books are a perfect way for them to learn responsibility. Making sure they care for the books properly, know where to find them when the due date rolls round, and cough up the dough to pay overdue fines is a great lesson in responsibility. Or library prints out a receipt with all the books and their due dates listed. We put these on a bulletin board and mark the date on our calendar. We also have a “book bag” where library books are SUPPOSED to go when the kids finish with them. Despite that, we still have a mad search of the house each library day. We always end up finding at least one book in a bed, under a couch, or in the car. Baby steps!
With our own books, the kids are learning to treat them with care, as well. We’ve got our own roll of repair tape, and my eight-year-old lectures us all on the horrors of dog-earring pages. I have a basket in the front room where kids can “return” books that they don’t know where to shelf. And one of the weekly chores is for each child to clear and straighten one of their bookshelves.
Despite all this, we still have book-tastrophes. Just this Saturday, we ran to the local bookstore to buy birthday gifts for friends and, of course, ended up with a new book apiece for ourselves.
My youngest was reading on the swing set and forgot to bring her book in at bedtime. I was distracted by a number of things, and also didn’t notice.
Sunday morning, my husband headed out to mow the lawn. He noticed. He noticed a 210-page hardcover book face down in the lawn, drenched by the previous night’s rainstorm.
To her credit, my six-year-old was a good sport. She tore paper towels and helped me place them between every single page, carefully peeling the fragile, wet pages apart. She agreed that, if the paper-towel-method didn’t do the trick, she would do extra chores to earn the price of the book. The book is still drying. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
For more posts about raising kids who love to read, search #raisingreaders or try one of these:
- WHAT (NOT) TO DO WHEN YOUR CHILD FALLS OUT OF LOVE WITH BOOKS
- THE IMPORTANCE OF READING ALOUD WITH OLDER KIDS
- 5 FANTASTIC PICTURE BOOKS TO GIVE COLLEGE-BOUND KIDS