Surviving to Thriving: Tips for Incorporating the Library into your Family Life

If the pandemic has reminded us of anything, it’s that spending time with our kids is wonderful, but it can also be a bit, shall we say, intense at times. Here are a few tried and true tips from our very own librarians/parents on how we can support your family in your home.

1. Meet Your New BFF: Audiobooks

If you haven't already, try audiobooks! Find one that is suitable for little ones, so 10, 60, or 180 minutes long. Depending on your child’s age and interest, you can filter through the Libby app (available for iOS and Android devices) for titles that are available right away. Set your children up with toys, paper and crayons, then listen to an audiobook for some relaxed chill time. We all need time to ourselves and your kids are no different.

Pro tip for parents with slightly older kids: Prep some easy snacks in the fridge and leave your device fully charged with the Libby app loaded. Put out some kid-friendly activities, then when they wake up super early on Saturday, your children can enjoy happy, independent time and you can sleep in just a little bit longer.

2. Get That Online Shopping Fix—For Free

Are you ordering way too much online these days? For an option much easier on your bank account, find books through our EPL App. Browse new titles and place a hold on what you’re interested in—they’ll be delivered to your branch for pick up when ready. If your kids mention an interest in a topic, whip out your phone and place a hold right there and then. When holds arrive, they can share in the thrill of having new books to read (for free!). You can comfortably grab your holds through our contactless pickup service, Library Takeout. If you're not quite sure what you're in the mood to read, let us help! Fill out our Personal Picks Pack form and we will select titles that match your interests. Some locations also have Surprise Bags filled with titles to surprise you with some delightful finds based around a central theme.

3. Don’t Open it All At Once

Good things come to those who wait, right? When you bring home a stack of fresh books from the Library, be sure to keep a few hidden. When your child seems to be having a hard time or you need to distract them, pull out a new library book they haven’t seen before. Place a new book at the breakfast table for them to discover when they get up. Pull out a new book at bedtime when your child is determinedly not tired but can’t hold themselves together anymore. Novelty can be a parent’s friend.

4. Create a Spot for Library Books

Why is the book due back always hiding under the couch or behind your child’s dresser? With kids around, messes seem to crop up faster than you can tidy them. If your family seems to scatter books around the house, try to dedicate one bookshelf for library books only. During clean up time, your kids will know exactly where to put the books, so they’ll be there when you’re ready to return them.

5. Have a Book in Every Room

Former EPL Board Chair Dr. Fern Snart with her grandchild

Reading a book with a young child can solve a surprising number of problems, from fussiness to boredom and even pure frustration. Make sure you have books from your own personal collection anywhere kids hang out and use at the first sign of trouble.

Get a free board book from us when you sign up your child 36 months and under for a free library card through our Welcome Baby program. See how much baby is loving Richard Van Camp's book, Kiss by Kiss, that he received in his Welcome Baby package!

For even more books to add to your home library, try our Books2Buy sales to get affordable books to keep that you don’t mind getting smeared with bananas.

6. Clean Up Before the Song Ends!

If you’re struggling to keep your house tidy (and honestly—who isn’t) try the cleanup game: challenge your children to pick up all the toys before the song ends. Choose fast and fun songs that the kids love and dance around while you clean. You’ll model that cleaning isn’t a such a bad thing when you make it fun. EPL has tons of great music for kids and for a local twist, play Edmonton musician Beppie’s song, Clean Up, available through Library Takeout. We also have several clean up songs featured in our virtual Sing, Sign, Laugh and Learn classes.

Parenting is no easy feat, but we can help! Your library card is more than a piece of plastic in your wallet. It’s an invitation to join in these small parenting hacks that can make a day just a little bit brighter.

For even more kid-friendly content, including events and online resources, visit our kids pages:

Kids 0-5

Kids 6-12