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5 things you know to be true if you're a 'library parent'.

First 5 Forever
Thanks to our brand partner, First 5 Forever

Everyone remembers their first visit to the library.

Unlike anything else in our childhoods, which we grow out of as we grow into adults, the love of the library is one that we carry with us, well, until the very end.

It’s perhaps why when I became a mum I couldn’t wait to introduce my children to this special place that would be their forever haven, with their very own library cards.

This is what I’ve learnt from being a library-loving parent.

It helps to press pause.

Any parent, grandparent or carer will agree that life with a child is busy. Most mornings I’m helping my toddler son Max brush his teeth while my 14-week-old baby girl Georgie hangs off me for her morning feed. So, on those days when I’m feeling less super-mum and more frazzled mess, we head to the library. It’s become our “let’s all take a deep breath” place, especially when we’ve been trapped inside because of the rain. We take some books off the shelves, we sit together on the carpet and we read until those little sponges I call my children can’t take in any more!

You’re actually doing them a favour.

But it’s not just a breather. I know a visit to the library is beneficial for both of my kids’ brains, even Georgie’s at such a young age.

Did you know that by the time your kid turns five, 90 per cent of their brain is developed. Scary, right? Reading, talking, singing and playing with our children, from the ages of zero to five, actually lays down the foundation of their learning for future years.

That’s why it’s great to have programs like First 5 Forever, a Queensland Government initiative co-ordinated by the State Library of Queensland. At all local libraries in Queensland, this free early literacy program offers that magical combination of brain-boosting activities: Reading, talking, singing and playing. It’s about having fun while also giving them that all-important brain food for their development.

Need ideas? Here are some great tips for parents on their website.

It’s a portal to other worlds.

The power of a good story is something we can all believe in. Image: Getty.
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Yes, stepping into the library itself feels like entering another world. A peaceful one where toddlers are absolutely welcome. But as my son gets older I notice how he’s using it as a stepping stone into other worlds. Yes, his brain is growing and it’s all because we’ve read together right from the start, before he could ever really truly understand what was on the page.

These days, we read about diggers, dinosaurs and dancing mice. In three short years, we’ve swapped roles. I’m no longer the one leading him but he is telling me what he sees in picture books. I’m loving his current curiosity for emotions, with him telling me that the cow looks sad or the dinosaur looks happy.

We're all singers.

No one tells you that becoming a parent means you’re going to have to sing in public quite regularly. That’s great for those who can sing, but for the tone deaf of us, it is a little daunting.

Well, that is until I do it and I see little Georgie’s face light up. And sessions like Rhyme Time or Wriggle and Rhyme in libraries around Queensland are free!

In a world where nothing to do with parenting is cheap, it really feels like finding a rolled-up $20 note in your old jeans. Best of all? They are actually learning language from those (often off-pitch) songs you sing!

It's social, not solo.

For a long time the library was my place for solo silent time, to study or to escape.

But being a library mum is very different. I’ve met so many mum friends at the library. Fellow comrades seeking refuge to breastfeed their babies (as seriously, the options are very limited) to frazzled mums of toddlers wanting to share tantrum tales.

Plus, there's something seriously amusing about seeing how toddlers eye each other up and then become instant friends over just minutes.

To see what else you can do with your little one at your local library, visit first5forever.org.au.

First 5 Forever

Up to 90% of a child’s brain development happens in the first five years…so the more you talk, sing, play and read with your child during this time, the more connections they build with the world around them. That’s why your local library is part of First 5 Forever – a free early literacy program for families with children aged zero to five, where you can participate in fun activities that will have a lasting impact on your child. Participate today, or learn more at first5forever.org.au.

Tags: first5forever1 , parents , toddlers
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