It’s summertime, okay? That means kids are as busy as ever, but mostly doing what they want to do (Playing, Exploring, Hangin’ out with their buddies, etc.). If parents give them enough slack, kids will find something fun to do.
There are times of course that circumstances dictate that the youngster(s) in a family will be dragged out of the house because an older person needs to run an errand or there’s a scheduled doctor’s appointment or hair necessity and then the playmeisters have to be brought along to maintain some level of supervision or security, or just to give them a change of scenery.
I establish this scenario because it spotlights the broad range of times that children are corralled and end up where their options for play and exploration or connecting with friends are limited.
Now, for a family with a culture of reading, this is a no brainer…uh…make that a brainer. Each child from such a family will have a back pack, tote or grocery bag that has toys and such in it for this irregular or surprising extraction from their usual territory.
That kind of rallying command only requires that the kid(s) quickly throw their current self-selected book(s) into their travel toy collection. Now they are totally set up for an hour or two of enjoyment, while the caretaker does what s/he must while ensuring the security and supervision required for the youngin’s.
I’ve recently read about how family oriented businesses, like barbershops and laundromats have discovered and are taking the lead in anticipating the needs of tag-along children. Those small businesses create on-site mini-libraries and toy supply bins to ensure the children are engaged in activities that don’t interfere with the adults interactions with the proprietors. Thus increasing the pleasant and calm feelings that customers will associate with their business.
This is also a perfect way to establish the impression of their businesses as positive resources as these children grow into young-adulthood.
When children take along self-selected books, that ensures that the “hush and be good while I do what needs to be done” command/request is not a sentence to crushing boredom, but rather an opportunity to relax and wade into a great story book or collection of fascinating information about a beloved animal, exotic location, or admirable person’s life.
Not only does this practice of packing or providing books, art and writing tools, and toys offer a pleasant alternative scenario of what can be an exhausting summertime child care hassle of running errands, but it offers a certain continuity of engagement with literacy across the long, hot months between May and September.
There is no downside to raising children who understand that books and writing materials are every bit as fun and delightful as toys, and it’s immensely more fulfilling for them than sitting and waiting.