On the Same Page: 8 Tips for Starting a Mommy-and-Me Book Club

How to start a book club with your baby!How to start a book club with your baby!I love my local library's storytime, but maybe you live far away from the library. Maybe the time of day doesn't fit you or your child's schedule. Maybe it's just too busy and loud and overwhelming for your child.

If so, you might enjoy starting your own baby book club.

Every few weeks, I'll share a new theme for a baby book club, complete with four to five books to read, a few wiggle songs/rhymes, a craft that little toddlers can complete with help, and a snack that goes along with the theme.

In the meantime, here are 10 tips for starting your own mommy-and-me book club:

1. PIck the right size for your group
Four to six babies (with their parents) is the ideal number in my mind. You have enough to make it feel like an event, but not so many that you can't sit around a table or that it's a madhouse.

Related: 6 award-winning books to share at your next baby book club

2. You're NOT providing free babysitting
Make sure parents understand that they need to stay and be involved throughout the entire thing - you probably don't want to be wrestling four to six babies on your own.

3. Set a time limit beforehand
Aim for about 30-45 minutes total. Too much longer and babies will start to get really restless.

4. It feels good NOT to be in charge sometimes
Rotate being in charge (even if it's always at the same location). Then you aren't responsible for picking books, preparing craft and snack materials, and being on stage every time.

5. Pick the right time of day
Generally right after nap-time is a good time for these kinds of events. I personally like 4 p.m. the best, after the second nap, to use up that late afternoon stretch of the day, but before lunch can be a good time too.

6. All parents should model good listening behavior
Let the parents know you want them to model good listening behavior (our local librarian is always reminding the parents that while she reads the books is not the time for parents to socialize).

7. Choose short books
It's better to pick shorter books and do more of them than try to do one or two long books. Most babies just don't have the attention span to sit through long books at this age.

8. Add variety
Break up the reading with activities where babies can move, sing, or stand-up. Too many books in a row will just cause wiggly or restless babies.

Babies love repetition, so feel free to use some of the same books and songs each time. Any other tips for running a baby book club?

- By Janssen Bradshaw
Follow Janssen on Disney Baby

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