A two in a half year old during story time... HELP!!
My husband, two and a half year old little boy, and I have just moved to a new state. Not knowing anyone in the area or having other children that my little boy can share play time with, we made the choice to take him to the local library for storytime.
They offerd two different times, one storytime starting at 10:30 a.m and the other at 1:30 p.m. Having received more information about storytime from the staff, I thought nothing would be better for my son to be in a surrounding with other children his age, sharing the same experience.
We arrived a around 1:15 which was a little early so I thought it would be good for the both of us to get use to the enviroment and to go into the children section to practice using our "inside voice" and read a while. After a few short minutes he started playing and looking at the books. A while later a couple of children joined the area where we were reading. My son on surprisingly good behavior accepted the children and starting playing with them.. - mostly giving hugs and kisses.. :)
The reader arrived and, along with the other children, we followed her down the steps. I was anxious to see how my son would react - I couldn't wait for the story to start! The reader asked the children in the group to sit down on a rug that she referred to as "the storytime rug."
All the children, except mine, sat down as instructed. I sat at the table behind the rug with all the other mothers and grandmothers. The storytime group was made up of only six other children ranging from the ages between 18 months and the oldest being 6. The reader stood up and the group followed. She told them "Okay, lets do the storytime song." They all began to sing. My son standing up also was in shock and began to watch.
The reader then sat down and openned her book. All the children were still sitting on the rug.. WITH THE EXCEPTION OF MINE!! My son then runs around the room laughing, taking the crayons which were in the center of each table and starts trying to color on the walls, an action that he has never done at home, and then opening and closing the door to the stairs.
The reader is still trying to read, finally asked my son to please keep the door open so if other children were to arrive they could know what door to enter. My son still misbehaving, then runs up the steps as fast as he could, while the other mothers are worried for his safety, they are all trying to get him to come back to the room. I then get up, by this time the reader has stopped reading due to all the chaos and the children not listening anymore, I go to bring him back to the story room.
I reach the steps where he is standing then reach out and ask him to come back to listen to the story. He then proceeds to go farther up the steps, laughing and thinking this is a game of some kind. I then just turn around, go back to the table where I was sitting, grab his coat, return back to him still standing on the steps telling me "Bye Mommy" and waving. I pick him up and explain to him that storytime for him is now over. He still continues to be loud, screaming now that he doesn't want to leave, after a few short seconds he starts kicking. By this time we are at the top of the steps entering back into the library. I take him outside to the car, put him in his seat, and tears in my eyes I get into the drivers seat and head back home.
I am undecided still if I'm going to take him back to storytime. I know that he needs to be in a social surrounding with other children. I just don't know how to prepare either of us for this kind of activity. If anyone has any ideas or tips I would greatly appreciate it! I hope that our next visit to the library will be more productive. I think that the worse thing I could do for his behavior is to stop going and just think that the behavior and attitude will improve on it own. Please, any advise is welcomed.
Thank you all for reading and understanding,
A confused mother of a two 1/2 year old son
Dr Maud Answers
It sounds as if your son did not get properly introduced to the group but was just expected to join in - this is something the reader could have done by just addressing your son and explaining what was to happen.
It sounds as if your son was happily playing his game and then everyone left and he then had to get attention back. Not only that is seems everyone knew a song that he didn't.
It sounds as if you did well and you should definitely go again to this or other activities. Now you know what happens at storytime, you can practice at home - so sitting on the mat for a story. Also, get there early to speak to the reader and introduce your son. Perhaps you could teach him the song.
I would also let your son know that if he is well behaved in the group, he will get a treat. Give lots of positive reinforcement for all things he does that are in contrast with the last time.